Apr 14, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Reagan foundation denounces upcoming release of man who shot Reagan

Photo of a man handcuffed with one man holding each arm as they exit a helicopter
John W. Hinckley Jr., who attempted to assassinate former President Reagan, arrives at the Marine Corps base at Quantico, Va., after completing extensive psychiatric tests at the Federal Correctional Institute. Photo: Bettmann via Getty Images

The Ronald Reagan Foundation and Institute issued a statement Wednesday expressing concern about the upcoming unconditional release of John Hinckley Jr., who attempted to assassinate former President Reagan in 1981 and now pursues a music career.

Why it matters: Hinckley, who seriously injured Reagan along with three others, was found not guilty by reason of insanity and sent to a mental health facility until 2016, when he was allowed to live with his mother. A federal judge ruled last year that Hinckley can be freed from all court supervision in June if he remains mentally stable and continues to follow rules that were imposed on him after he left the hospital.

Driving the news: Hinckley has since begun producing music and tweeted on Tuesday his excitement that his July show in Brooklyn is sold out.

What they're saying: "The Reagan Foundation and Institute is both saddened and concerned that John Hinckley, Jr. will soon be unconditionally released and intends to pursue a music career for profit," the foundation said in the statement.

  • "Mr. Hinckley is the man responsible for the attempted assassination of President Reagan and the shooting of three other brave men, one who eventually died of his injuries years later."
  • "We strongly oppose his release into society where he apparently seeks to make a profit from his infamy," the statement adds.

The big picture: Hinckley, 66, has gained over 22,000 followers since joining Twitter last October and has released a number of songs on Spotify.

  • The Washington Post reported in September that his attorney Barry Wm. Levine said Hinckley wanted to express his "heartfelt" apologies and "profound regret" to the people he shot.
  • "Perhaps, perhaps it is too much to ask for forgiveness, but we hope to have an understanding that the acts that caused him to do this terrible thing were the product of mental illness."
  • The Department of Behavioral Health said last year that Hinckley posed "low risk for future violence," per NPR.
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