WASHINGTON (AP) — The man who shot and wounded President Ronald Reagan in 1981 apologized for his actions Tuesday and said that he doesn’t remember the emotions he was feeling when he fired the shots that also wounded three others.
John Hinckley Jr., who was freed from all court oversight earlier this month, told CBS Mornings in his first televised interview since his release that he felt remorse for all the lives his actions affected.
“I feel badly for all of them. I have true remorse for what I did,” Hinckley said. “I know that they probably can’t forgive me now, but I just want them to know that I am sorry for what I did.”
Asked about what feelings led him to commit the act, Hinckley said he can’t remember those emotions and doesn’t want to.
“It’s such another lifetime ago. I can’t tell you now the emotion I had right as (Reagan) came walking out. I can’t tell you that,” he said, later adding: “It’s something I don’t want to remember.”
Hinckley was 25 and suffering from acute psychosis when his gunshots wounded Reagan and three others outside a Washington hotel. The assassination attempt paralyzed Reagan press secretary James Brady, whose death in 2014 was ultimately ruled a homicide caused by the gunshot wound he sustained 33 years earlier. It also wounded a police officer and a Secret Service agent.
Jurors found Hinckley not guilty by reason of insanity and he spent decades at a mental hospital in Washington. He began making visits to his parents’ home in Williamsburg, Virginia, in the early 2000s. A 2016 court order granted him permission to live with his mother full time, albeit under various restrictions, after experts said his mental illness had been in remission for decades.
He signed a lease on a one-bedroom apartment in the area last year and has been living alone there with his cat, according to court documents. His mother died in July.
Hinckley had previously been under restrictions that barred him from owning a gun, using drugs or alcohol or contacting members of the victims’ families. But a federal judge in Washington had said months ago that he would free Hinckley from those restrictions if he remained mentally stable. Those restrictions were lifted on June 15.