Statement by Assistant to the President David R. Gergen About the Attempted Assassination of the President

March 30, 1981

Good afternoon. This is to confirm the statements made at George Washington Hospital that the President was shot once in the left side, this afternoon, as he left the hotel. His condition is stable.

A decision is now being made whether or not to operate to remove the bullet. The White House and the Vice President are in communication, and the Vice President is now en route to Washington. He is expected to arrive in the city this afternoon.

Mrs. Reagan is currently with the President at the hospital.

I'd like to add two notes. We have been informed by [Chief of Staff and Assistant to the President] Jim Baker that the President walked into the hospital.

I would also like to inform you that in the building [the White House] as of the moment are the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Defense, and the Attorney General, as well as other Assistants to the President.

Note: Mr. Gergen, Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff, made the statement at 3:37 p.m. to reporters assembled in the Briefing Room at the White House, following initial reports that the President had left the hotel unharmed by the assassination attempt.

The President was shot at 2:25 p.m. outside the Washington Hilton Hotel, after addressing the national conference of the Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO. Immediately following the shooting, the President was taken to George Washington University Hospital in his limousine.

Press Secretary to the President James S. Brady, Timothy J. McCarthy, a Secret Service agent, and Thomas K. Delahanty, a District of Columbia policeman, were also wounded in the incident. Mr. Brady and Mr. McCarthy were taken to George Washington University Hospital; Officer Delahanty was taken to the Washington Hospital Center.

Secret Service agents at the scene apprehended John W. Hinckley, Jr., 25, of Evergreen, Colo. He was initially charged with attempting to assassinate the President and assaulting a special agent and an employee of the Secret Service.