What happened to John Hinckley and where is he now?

JOHN Hinckley Jr. opened fire on then President Ronald Reagan and his staff in front of a hotel in Washington DC in 1981.

After the failed assassination attempt Hinckley was admitted to a psychiatric facility but was released unconditionally in June 2022.

Hinckley's unhealthy obsession with Jodie Foster led to his shooting and wounding of Ronald Reagan's associates


Hinckley’s unhealthy obsession with Jodie Foster led to his shooting and wounding of Ronald Reagan’s associatesPhoto credit: EPA

Who is John Hinckley?

On March 30, 1981, 25-year-old Hinckley showed up at a Washington DC hotel where then-President Ronald Raegan was attending a public address.

Hinckley fired six shots at Reagan and his escort, nearly missing the President’s heart and causing a fractured rib, a lung injury and internal bleeding.

The attack paralyzed its press secretary James Brady, who succumbed to his injuries decades later, and also injured Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy and Washington police officer Thomas Delahanty.

Raegan returned to his White House duties after 12 days, and Hinckley’s trial began in early 1982.

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His defense attorney argued that Hinckley had a pathological obsession with the 1976 film Taxi Driver, in which the main character attempts to assassinate a senator.

They argued that he attempted to commit the crime in order to simulate the fictional events of his own life in order to attract the attention of the film’s lead actress, Jodie Foster.

They argued the film was responsible for the crime and not the shooter.

What happened to John Hinckley?

On June 21, 1982, the trial jury ruled that Hinckley was suffering from an acute psychosis and found him “not guilty of insanity” as he required treatment rather than life imprisonment.

The decision sparked public criticism across the US over claims that a would-be presidential assassin should be treated more harshly and held accountable for his crime.

Instead, Hinckley spent 35 years being treated at St. Elizabeth Psychiatric Hospital in Washington.

In 2016, a federal judge ruled that Hinckley could be released from psychiatric treatment under court-imposed conditions and allowed to leave the mental institution.

Under a number of restrictions, he was allowed to move to Williamsburg, Virginia.

The rules included that he lived at his mother’s home in Williamsburg, possessed no gun or Jodie Foster memorabilia, could not contact Reagan’s family, and could not delete his computer’s web browsing history.

In November 2018, Hinckley was granted permission to live alone.

A 2020 Violence Risk Assessment concluded that Hinckley would not pose a danger.

Where is John Hinckley now?

On September 27, 2021, justice officials met with US District Judge Paul Friedman Federal Court of Justice.

The parties reconvened to discuss Hinckley’s freedom from court-ordered restrictions.

Judge Friedman ruled that the then 67-year-old shooter would be unconditionally released from court oversight on June 15, 2022.

He was freed from all remaining restrictive conditions, officially ending his four decades of care from legal and mental health professionals.

Commenting on his sentence, the judge said: “If he hadn’t tried to kill a president, he would have been released unconditionally a long time ago.”

Hinckley responded to the verdict with a tweet: “After 41 years, 2 months and 15 days, FREEDOM at last!!!”

After his release, he decided to pursue his passion for music after sharing his singing and guitar playing on the popular website youtube Channel.

However, the former assassin found his freedom still had limits.

On July 8, 2022, he had planned to give a sold-out concert in Brooklyn at the Market Hotel in Bushwick as the start of his so-called “Redemption Tour”.

The event was canceled by the organizers, fearing a backlash against him “dangerously radicalized, reactionary climate.”

“There was a time when a place could throw something like that, maybe a little insulting, and the reaction was, ‘This is just a guy playing a show, who cares – it’s a free country'” the Brooklyn hotel said in a statement.

“We no longer live in such a free country, for better or for worse.”

Hinckley expressed his disappointment, which was multiplied by the venues Chicago and Connecticut also canceled, but said he understood the venue’s safety concerns.

“I watch the news like everyone else — we live in very, very scary times, to be honest,” Hinckley said New York Times.

“I would only have continued with the show if I felt safe with the show and felt that the audience would be safe.”

Now Hinckley wants to put the 1981 shooting behind him and pursue his musical ambitions, even selling art on eBay.

“It’s just a talent that God gave me,” Hinckley said Daily progress. “To be a good songwriter.”

He is still looking for venues that can accommodate him and his Redemption Tour plans.

Hinckley claims he regrets his actions and wants to prove he’s a different person from the shooter obsessed by Jodie Foster four decades ago.

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“I can’t identify with that person at all,” he said. “I feel really great regret for what I did.

“It may not come across well in my interviews, but I feel great regret for what happened. I’m so sorry it happened.”


PaulLeBlanc is a Dailynationtoday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. PaulLeBlanc joined Dailynationtoday in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: paulleblanc@dailynationtoday.com.

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