This day in history, March 30, 1981, President Ronald Reagan is shot by John Hinckley Jr. outside the Hilton Hotel in Washington D.C.
Reagan had just addressed the Building and Construction Workers Union of the AFL-CIO and was walking out to his limousine when Hinckley fired six shots at the President.
The bullet that hit Reagan originally hit his limousine and ricocheted into his chest, just missing his heart. Reagan was immediately rushed to George Washington University Hospital. He arrived at the hospital and told his wife: “Honey, I forgot to duck.”
To his surgeons he said: “Please tell me you’re Republicans.”
The surgery lasted two hours and the President was in stable condition.
Press Secretary James Brady was shot in the head and became permanently disabled. Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy was shot in the side and District of Columbia Policeman Thomas Delahaney was shot in the neck.
Reagan’s popularity soared after the assassination attempt, and Congress gave him a hero’s welcome upon his return.
Hinckley, a man obsessed with actress Jodie Foster, was inspired to carry out an assassination attempt on the president after watching the film, “Taxi Driver.” He was immediately arrested after the assassination attempt but was found not guilty by reason of insanity.
Because he was a threat to society, he was placed in St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, a mental institution.