The Slatest

Ronald Reagan Shooter John Hinckley Jr. Will Be Released From Psychiatric Hospital

John Hinckley Jr. leaving a court hearing in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 18, 2003.

Brendan Smialowski/Reuters

A federal judge has granted John Hinckley Jr. his release from the Washington, D.C., mental hospital where he has lived since being found not guilty by reason of insanity after attempting to kill President Ronald Reagan in 1981.

Per NPR, Hinckley—who famously said he attacked Reagan in order to impress actress Jodie Foster, who he was obsessed with and had stalked—will be able to leave St. Elizabeths Hospital to live with his 90-year-old mother in Williamsburg, Virginia, as soon as next week. Hinckley, 61, has been making monitored furloughs up to 17 days long to Williamsburg for years. “Saint Elizabeths Hospital says he no longer presents a danger to himself or others,” NPR says, while “doctors report his depression and psychosis are in remission.”


Reagan spent two weeks in a hospital recovering from a wound sustained in the incident, which took place on March 30, 1981, outside a Washington, D.C., Hilton hotel.* Reagan’s press secretary James Brady, who was partially paralyzed after being struck in the head by a bullet that Hinckley fired, became a major gun-control advocate. Brady died in 2014.

Hinckley’s family owned an oil company, and in Williamsburg his mother lives in an expensive gated community. His father died in 2008.

*Correction, 9:55 a.m.: This post originally misstated the date of Hinckley’s attack on Reagan.