Newly Freed Hinckley: 'I Am Sorry for What I Did'

In CBS interview, man who shot Reagan can't recall what he was thinking at the time
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 28, 2022 12:50 PM CDT
Newly Freed Hinckley: 'I Am Sorry for What I Did'
US marshals escort John Hinckley Jr. as he returns to a marine base via helicopter in Quantico, Va., on Aug. 8, 1981.   (AP Photo/Barry Thumma, File)

(Newser) – The man who wounded President Reagan in 1981 apologized for his actions Tuesday and said he doesn't remember what he was feeling when he fired the shots that also wounded three others, per the AP. John Hinckley Jr. told CBS Mornings in his first televised interview since he was freed from all court oversight this month that he feels sorry 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."

Going back to that day, Hinckley recalled Reagan walking out of the Washington Hilton after giving a speech: "And I was right there, and I fired shots at him, which so unfortunately hit other people, too." Asked what feelings led him to shoot, 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. The assassination attempt paralyzed Reagan press secretary James Brady, who died in 2014. It also wounded a police officer and a Secret Service agent.

Hinckley told Major Garrett, CBS News’ chief Washington correspondent, that he's glad he didn't succeed. He said that at the time of the shooting he did "not have a good heart" and was doing things "a good person doesn't do." Jurors found Hinckley not guilty by reason of insanity and he spent decades at a mental hospital in Washington. "I was not just a cold, calculating criminal in 1981," he said. "I truly believe I had a serious mental illness that was preventing me from knowing right from wrong back then." (The newly freed Hinckley says America is a little "scary" at the moment.")

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
X
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.

X