March 30, 1981
On a rainy afternoon after just 69 days in office, President Ronald Reagan addressed the National Conference of Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO at the Washington Hilton Hotel. After concluding his remarks, the President exited the hotel and encountered a group of several hundred people. As he made his way to his motorcade, President Reagan passed John Hinckley, who was part of the crowd. Hinckley was able to fire six shots, all missing the president. The first bullet hit Press Secretary James Brady. The second bullet hit District of Columbia police officer Thomas Delahanty. The third bullet hit a window across the street from the hotel. The fourth bullet hit Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy. The fifth bullet hit the limousine window. The sixth bullet hit the limousine and ricocheted into President Reagan.
As shots were fired, Secret Service agent Jerry Parr shoved President Reagan into the limousine and told the driver to head for the White House. When Parr realized that President Reagan had been shot, he told the driver to head for George Washington Hospital.
President Reagan underwent surgery to have a bullet removed from his left lung. Surgery was performed by Dr. Benjamin Aaron and Dr. Joseph Giordano.
Hinckley chose to use bullets designed to explode on impact. The one that hit James Brady did explode and left him with devastating head injuries. Luckily, the bullets that struck President Reagan, Officer Delahanty and Agent McCarthy did not explode.
The media covering the speech captured the entire incident on film and video. Assassination attempt photos in the White House Photo Collection Gallery John Hinckley Jr. (FBI) collection
The following Secret Service personnel played a direct role in events surrounding the March 30, 1981 assassination attempt on President Reagan, by John Hinckley, at the Washington Hilton Hotel.
Members of the Presidential Protective Detail
|Driver of the Second (Follow-up) Car to George Washington University Hospital after President Reagan Was Wounded
|Mary Ann Gordon
|Lead Transportation Agent for President Reagan’s Visit to the Washington Hilton
|Lead Advance Agent for President Reagan’s Visit to the Washington Hilton
|Retrieved Hinckley’s Gun from the Pavement after Hinckley Was Tackled
|Dennis V. N. McCarthey*
|First Agent to Tackle Hinckley after the Assassination Attempt
|Wounded in the Assassination Attempt
|Helped Guard President Reagan at George Washington University Hospital
|Special Agent in Charge, President's Protective Detail
|Assistant Special Agent in Charge, President's Protective Detail
|Carlton Daniel "Danny" Spriggs*
|Thomas Drew Unrue*
|Driver of the Presidential Car; Drove President Reagan to George Washington University Hospital
* = Received Secret Service or Treasury Department Awards for Actions Taken During the Assassination Attempt
Other USSS Personnel
|Assistant to the Special Agent in Charge, Washington Field Office; Coordinated Security at GWU Hospital after President Reagan Arrived
|Washington Field Office, Assisted with Presidential Advance
|Assistant Director of the Secret Service for Administration; Met the President's Car Upon Its Arrival at GWU Hospital