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Attempt to Assassinate President Reagan

An attempt to assassinate President Reagan was made on March 30, 1981 in Washington, D.C.

Reagan add given a lunch time speech at the Washington Hilton Hotel. He was getting into the car when six gun shots were heard. Jerry Parr, a Secret Service agent push Reagan into the car and told the driver to go. Reagan thought Parr had broken one of his ribs when he pushed him into the car. He didn't know he had been hit. They were headed to the safety of the White House.

The president started coughing up blood. Parr order the driver to take them to the George Washington Hospital. Reagan walked into the hospital, but then collapsed. He complained he couldn't breath. A bullet that had hit the limousine entered his arm pit, hit a rib and punctured his lung. Doctors said that Parr's decision to go to the hospital most likely saved the presidents life. He might have lost enough blood in fifteen minutes to kill him.

Three other people were shot during the attempted assassination. James Brady, Reagan's press secretary suffered a sever head wound and was permanently disabled. Agent Tim McCarthy was shot in the chest. An Thomas Delahaney was hit in the neck. All three survived.

Nancy Reagan, his wife, demanded to see him before he was operated on at the hospital. Reagan tried to calm her by joking with her. He said, "Honey I forgot to duck." He joked with the doctors saying, "I hope you people are all Republicans." One of the doctors replied, "Today, we are all Republicans, Mr. President." He was actually a Democrat. Reagan was in the hospital for thirteen days.



 

The shooter was twenty-five year old, John Hinkley, Jr. He was from Colorado. He had bought two .22 caliber guns. Before he shot the president he had written to Jodie Foster, a movie actress. He told her he loved her and was going to shoot the president to impress her. He called it "The greatest love offering in the history of the world."

Reagan Assassination
Hinkley being captured.
Copyright for the U.S. Government

He was found to be insane and was committed to St. Elizabeth Hospital.* Currently he is released for some visits with his family, but is otherwise confined to St. Elizabeth.

* St. Elizabeth is the same hospital that President Jackson's assailant was sent to after his attempt.

Note: Ronald Reagan was the first president elected in a year ending in zero to survive his term of office since 1980.

October 22, 1983

This was not officially an assassination attempt. Since it involved the president and there were guns and hostages involved I thought I would include it here.

Visit the main Reagan page for more facts and trivia about President Reagan.

The president was playing golf at Augusta National Golf Club with his aides and a cabinet member. While they were on the 16th tee, a bearded man in a flannel shirt, jeans and a hat that said "Dixie-The Closest Thing to Heaven." Drove his pickup truck trough the gate of the golf club.

A man who was an unemployed pipe fitter named Charles Harris. Harris had a .38 caliber pistol and had been drinking. He took 7 people hostage in the golf pro shop. One of the hostages was David Fisher and assistant to the president. He threatened to kill the hostages unless he could talk to Reagan. He let Fisher out to find the president.

Fisher found the president in an armour ed limousine protected by the secret service. Reagan tried to call Harris five or six times but Harris kept hanging up on the president. Harris was arrested two hours later. Reagan was driven to his nearby quarters under heavy guard.

Eventually Wiles, an aide to presidential hopeful John McCain, helped end the stand off by suggesting to his hostage taker that he should go get them something more to drink. Harris was sentenced to 10 years probation on charges of kidnapping, false imprisonment and criminal damage to private property.

Topics


NEW Facts about the Inaugurations

Nicknames for the Presidents

First Ladies

Presidents who died in office

Assassinations and Assassination Attempts

Vice Presidents who became Presidents

Presidential Salaries

Oldest living Presidents

Presidents' Military Service

Preidential Timeline of Key Dates

Books about U.S. President

Pets of the Presidents

Chronlogical (by Year) Order
Of the Presidents.

 



Sources:

The Presidents of the United States. 22 September 2004: http://www.whitehouse.gov/history/presidents/

Davis, Gibbs and Ilus. David A. Johnson. Wackiest White House Pets. New York: Scholastic Press, October 2004

James, Barber and Amy Pastan. Smithsonian Presidents and First Ladies. New York: DK Publishing, 2002

Kane, Joseph Natan. Facts about the Presidents from Washington to Johnson. New York: H.W. Wilson Company, 1964.

McCullough, Noah, The Essential Book of Presidential Trivia. Random House, USA, 2006

Pine, Joslyn, Presidential Wit and Wisdom: Memorable Quotes from George Washington to Barack Obama . Dover Publications, Mineola, New York, 2009

Huffington Post web site.

Lang, Stephen, The Complete Book of Presidential Trivia, Pelican Publishing Company, Gretna, 2011

O'Reilly, Bill, and Dugard, Martin, Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever, Henry Holt and Company, New York, 2011

St. George, Judith In the Line of Fire: Presidents' Lives at Stake , Scholastic Inc. New York, 2001

In addition to these books, I have also read and have used information from those listed on my Books About Presidents page.

 


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This page was last updated on Monday, February 25, 2013

For comments or corrections email jim@anewadventure.org.