America

James Brady's Death Is Ruled A Homicide

The death this week of James Brady, the Reagan administration press secretary who was wounded during a 1981 assassination attempt, has been ruled a homicide, according to District of Columbia police. He's seen here with President Clinton in 1993. i

The death this week of James Brady, the Reagan administration press secretary who was wounded during a 1981 assassination attempt, has been ruled a homicide, according to District of Columbia police. He's seen here with President Clinton in 1993. Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images
The death this week of James Brady, the Reagan administration press secretary who was wounded during a 1981 assassination attempt, has been ruled a homicide, according to District of Columbia police. He's seen here with President Clinton in 1993.

The death this week of James Brady, the Reagan administration press secretary who was wounded during a 1981 assassination attempt, has been ruled a homicide, according to District of Columbia police. He's seen here with President Clinton in 1993.

Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images

His wounds were inflicted 33 years ago, but James Brady died from John Hinckley Jr.'s attack on President Reagan, according to Washington, D.C., police who cite a Virginia medical examiner's report. The finding could lead to murder charges against Hinckley.

Update at 6:55 p.m. ET. Cause Of Death: Gunshot

From a D.C. Police Department release today:

"On Monday, August 4, 2014, at approximately 10:40 am, at his residence in Alexandria, Virginia, Mr. James Brady succumbed to his injuries sustained in the 1981 shooting and was pronounced dead.

"His remains were transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the Northern District of Virginia. An autopsy was conducted and revealed the cause of death to be a gunshot wound and consequences thereof, and the manner of death was ruled a homicide."

Our original post continues:

The medical examiner's finding was released days after Brady, the former Reagan press secretary, died at age 73. In Hinckley's 1981 assassination attempt in Washington, D.C., the gunman's bullets hit Reagan, two law enforcement officers and Brady, who suffered a head wound.

It's not yet known whether law enforcement officials might pursue a murder case against Hinckley, who has been under psychiatric care since being found not guilty of attempted murder by reason of insanity. It's also uncertain whether he might face local or federal charges.

But D.C. police spokesman Officer Hugh Carew tells Reuters, "We are investigating this as a homicide."

After the attack that nearly took his life, Brady's speech was affected and he was forced to use a wheelchair. He went on to become an advocate for gun control.

As for Hinckley, in recent years, he has been allowed to leave St. Elizabeths psychiatric hospital for days at a time to visit his family in Virginia. As an NPR report from 2011 noted, he has also "gone out to eat and has shopped at big-box stores and for pet supplies."

In 2012, a plan that would have allowed Hinckley to live with his mother full time was scrapped.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.