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John Hinckley Jr. says he’s sorry for shooting Reagan and three others

U.S. marshals escorting would-be Reagan assassin John Hinckley Jr.
U.S. marshals escort John Hinckley Jr., the man who shot then-President Reagan in 1981.
(Barry Thumma / Associated Press)

The man who tried to assassinate Ronald Reagan in 1981 apologized for his actions Tuesday and said he doesn’t remember what he was feeling when he fired the shots that wounded the then-president and three other people.

John Hinckley Jr. told “CBS Mornings” in his first televised interview since he was freed from all court oversight this month that he feels sorry for all the lives his actions affected.

“I feel badly for all of them. I have true remorse for what I did,” Hinckley said. “I know that they probably can’t forgive me now, but I just want them to know that I am sorry for what I did.”

Asked about what feelings led him to commit the act, Hinckley said he couldn’t remember those emotions and didn’t want to.

“It’s such another lifetime ago. I can’t tell you now the emotion I had right as [Reagan] came walking out. I can’t tell you that,” he said, later adding: “It’s something I don’t want to remember.”

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Hinckley was 25 and suffering from acute psychosis when his gunshots hit Reagan and men around the president outside a Washington hotel. The assassination attempt paralyzed Reagan’s press secretary, James Brady, who died in 2014. It also wounded a police officer and a Secret Service agent.

A Brooklyn music venue has canceled a long-planned concert featuring John Hinckley Jr., the man who attempted to assassinate President Reagan.

Jurors found Hinckley not guilty by reason of insanity, and he spent decades at a mental hospital in Washington. He began making visits to his parents’ home in Williamsburg, Va., in the early 2000s. A 2016 court order granted him permission to live with his mother full time, albeit under various restrictions, after experts said his mental illness had been in remission for decades.

He signed a lease on a one-bedroom apartment in the area last year and has been living alone there with his cat, according to court documents. His mother died in July.

He’s also been releasing songs and looking for a venue willing to let him sing and play guitar before a live audience. and posting videos of himself performing on YouTube.

Hinckley had previously been under restrictions that barred him from owning a gun, using drugs or alcohol and contacting members of the victims’ families. But a federal judge in Washington had said months ago that he would free Hinckley from those restrictions if he remained mentally stable.

Those restrictions were lifted June 15.


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