John Hinckley Jr., the man who attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan more than four decades ago, said Tuesday in his first televised interview that he has “remorse” for what he did and is glad his attempt to kill Reagan “did not succeed.”
Hinckley attempted to assassinate Reagan on March 30, 1981, and later claimed he did so to gain the attention of actress Jodie Foster, The Daily Wire reported. A bullet ricocheted off the presidential limousine and struck Reagan about an inch from his heart. Press Secretary James Brady, Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy, and policeman Thomas Delahanty were injured in the shooting, too; Brady lived partially paralyzed from the attack, until he later died.
“I feel terrible for what I did, and I’ve had remorse for many years for what I did, and if I could take it all back, I would,” Hinckley told CBS Mornings. “I swear, I would take it all back.”
Reagan was “a nice man and a good president,” he added.
Hinckley said he would like forgiveness from the Reagan family and the families of the others he injured, though he doesn’t expect to receive it. “They probably can’t, but I wish they would,” he said.
“I have true remorse for what I did. I know they probably can’t forgive me now, but I just want them to know that I am sorry for what I did,” he continued. “I’m glad I did not succeed.”
“I did not have a good heart. I was doing things that a good person does not do,” Hinckley said.
CBS News’ chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett said Hinckley told him he takes two psychotropic pills per day, after CBS host Gayle King noted the near-assassin “seemed heavily medicated” during the interview.
“I’ve been the most scrutinized person in the entire mental health system for 41 years,” Hinckley told Garrett.
The 67-year-old allegedly tried to kill himself on two occasions while in psychiatric care. “One was a hanging, and one was an overdose of pills,” Hinckley said.
His release is “justice,” Hinckley claimed. “I was not just a cold, calculating criminal in 1981,” but mentally ill.
“Psychologically, that person is dead,” he said. “I’m a completely different person in mind and spirit.”
Hinckley’s conditioned release started in 2016, and restrictions have since been removed. The Daily Wire noted on June 15, 2022, when Hinckley began his unconditional release, he posted on Twitter, “After 41 years 2 months and 15 days, FREEDOM AT LAST!!!”
In 1981, John Hinckley Jr. shot and wounded Pres. Reagan and three others — now, he's been granted unconditional freedom.
He says he wants to show that decades of mental health treatment have made him an “ordinary guy who’s just trying to get along like everybody else.” pic.twitter.com/Nj8w4WX3I1
— CBS Mornings (@CBSMornings) June 28, 2022
Ashe Schow contributed to this report