World & Nation

Secret Service agent credited with saving Reagan’s life dies at 85

Jerry Parr

President Reagan waves just before being shot outside a Washington hotel in 1981. Secret Service Agent Jerry Parr is at left wearing a raincoat.

(Michael Evans / Associated Press)

Jerry Parr, the Secret Service agent who shoved President Reagan into the back of the presidential limousine and ordered the car to the hospital during the 1981 assassination attempt, died Friday at a hospice in Washington. He was 85.

The cause was congestive heart failure, said his wife, Carolyn.

Parr was chief of the Secret Service detail when John Hinckley fired six shots outside the Washington Hilton on March 30, 1981. One bullet ricocheted off the limousine and hit the president.

When Reagan arrived at the hospital, he famously told First Lady Nancy Reagan, “Honey, I forgot to duck.” He later recovered from his wounds.


“Jerry Parr was one of my true heroes,” Nancy Reagan said in a statement Friday. “Without Jerry looking out for Ronnie on March 30, 1981, I would have certainly lost my best friend and roommate to an assassin’s bullet.

She called Parr “not only one of the finest Secret Service agents to ever serve this country, but one of the most decent human beings I’ve ever known.” Noting his sense of humor, she added: “It’s no wonder that he and my husband got along so well.”

Follow @ewooLATimes on Twitter


Get our Today's Headlines newsletter