President Ronald Reagan Assassination Attempt
John Hinckley Jr. FBI Files
796 pages of FBI files summarizing the investigation conducted in the first several days after the March 30, 1981 assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan.
The FBI files contain: A detailed chronology of events. Listing of evidence seized at the Washington Hilton Hotel, George Washington University Hospital, Hinckley's parent's home in Evergreen, Colorado, and the Park Central Hotel. Interviews of witnesses at the Washington Hilton Hotel and the George Washington University Hospital. Memos concerning President Ronald Reagan's missing shirt and cufflinks. FBI laboratory latent fingerprints and handwriting examination reports. The purchase and possession of weapons by Hinckley.
John Warnock Hinckley Jr was born on May 29, 1955. After dropping out of college in 1976, John Hinckley went to Los Angeles with the hopes of becoming a song writer. It is believed that while in Los Angeles, Hinckley saw the Martin Scorsese film "Taxi Driver", staring Robert DeNiro as the main character Travis Bickle, at least 15 times. In the movie "Taxi Driver", Travis Bickle becomes infatuated with Cybill Shepherd's character Betsy. After being rejected by Betsy, Bickle unsuccessfully attempts to assassinate a Congressional candidate that Betsy works for. Bickle then moves his attention to a 12-year-old prostitute, Iris, played by Jodie Foster. Bickle decides to shoot Iris's pimp. The blood bath that ensues leads to Bickle being deemed a hero by the media and Iris' parents. Screenwriter Paul Schrader's character, Travis Bickle, was partially based on the failed assassin Arthur Bremer, who attempted to assassinate Governor George Wallace during a presidential campaign stop.
Hinckley became fixated on Foster and began to build a gun collection. In 1980, after learning that Jodie Foster was enrolled at Yale University he traveled to the school. Hinckley left notes for Foster and contacted her twice by phone. After Foster rejected Hinckley, he began to stalk President Jimmy Carter during the 1980 presidential campaign. During a campaign stop in Nashville Tennessee, Hinckley was arrested for possessing a handgun at the Nashville Airport.
John Hinckley Jr. exited a bus in Washington, D.C. and checked into the Park Central Hotel on March 29, 1981. On March 30, 1981, President Ronald gave a luncheon speech to 3,500 AFL-CIO union delegates at a Washington, D.C. Hilton. Hinckley, standing among a crowd of onlookers outside the hotel, fired six shoots, exploding Devastator bullets, at President Reagan as he left the hotel surrounded by staff, Secret Service agents, and police officers. The gunfire hit President Reagan, police officer Tom Delahanty, Secret Service agent Tim McCarthy, and Press Secretary James Brady. The bullet that struck President Reagan malfunctioned, failing to explode on contact.
In 1982, a jury found Hinckley not-guilty by reason of insanity. The verdict lead to Hinckley's confinement at St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, DC. The verdict also lead to many states changing their laws concerning criminal insanity defenses. In 1999, he was allowed to make supervised visits to his parents. In April of 2000, Hinckley won the right to have unsupervised furloughs. This right was revoked the following May after a book about Jodie Foster was found in his room at St. Elizabeths Hospital. On December 17, 2003, U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman granted Hinckley the right to unsupervised visits with his parents.