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Prosecutors: Hinckley Will Not be Charged in James Brady's Death

  • VOA News

FILE - John Hinckley Jr. arrives at U.S. District Court in Washington, Nov. 18, 2003.

FILE - John Hinckley Jr. arrives at U.S. District Court in Washington, Nov. 18, 2003.

U.S. federal prosecutors say they will not pursue criminal charges against John Hinckley, Jr. in the 2014 death of former White House press secretary James Brady.

Brady was shot and suffered a devastating head wound in the March 30, 1981 assassination attempt against then-president Ronald Reagan outside a Washington hotel.

Reagan was hit twice but recovered, while Brady was left permanently disabled. Brady died in August at the age of 73. A medical examiner in the U.S. state of Virginia ruled the former press secretary's death a homicide after determining that the gunshot wound suffered in 1981 led to his death.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia said Friday that because Hinckley was found not guilty of the shootings by reason of insanity, prosecutors cannot now argue that he was sane at the time he carried them out.

Hinckley, who is now 59, was committed to a psychiatric hospital in Washington shortly after the verdict was issued in 1982. He remains there to this day.

A Secret Service agent and a police officer were also injured in the shootings.

FILE - James Brady (C), former White House Press Secretary under Ronald Reagan, makes remarks with his wife Sarah Brady (R) during a news conference to urge members of Congress for progress on gun control legislation, in Washington, March 30, 2011.

FILE - James Brady (C), former White House Press Secretary under Ronald Reagan, makes remarks with his wife Sarah Brady (R) during a news conference to urge members of Congress for progress on gun control legislation, in Washington, March 30, 2011.

After the attack, which occurred just two months into Reagan's presidency, Brady returned to the White House, but only briefly.

He was allowed to keep the title of presidential press secretary and his salary until Reagan left office in 1989. The White House press briefing room is named after him.

The assassination attempt turned Brady into a gun control advocate. He went on to conduct a lifelong campaign for tighter U.S. gun controls.

A law requiring background checks on gun buyers bears his name and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence is named after him.

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