Where Are They Now?

Key Figures in the Assassination Attempt and Aftermath

John Hinckley, Jr.’s failed attempt to kill President Ronald Reagan affected the lives and careers of numerous people. Here is what happened to them in the years that followed.

Secret Service Agent Tim McCarthy, who was wounded by Hinckley in the assassination attempt, recovered from his injuries and returned to work. He became agent in charge of the Chicago division, until his retirement from the service in 1993. McCarthy became the police chief in Orland Park, Illinois, a post he still holds, and ran unsuccessfully for Illinois secretary of state in 1998. In a 2011 Chicago Tribune interview, he described what it was like to take a bullet while guarding the President. “No agent thinks it will happen to them,” he said. “If you stopped to think about it, you probably wouldn't do it. It's not a rational act."

Secret Service Agent Jerry Parr, who was in charge of President Reagan’s protection detail on the day of the shooting, is widely credited with having saved the President’s life by pushing him into a limousine and rushing him to George Washington University Hospital, where he was treated successfully for his chest wound. He received the Medal of Valor for his actions. He retired from the Secret Service in 1985 and started a second career as a minister. He died in 2015.

Secret Service Agent Robert Wanko, who was also in the detail protecting Reagan, retired and became director of security for the Greenbrier resort in West Virginia, according to a 2001 Associated Press article.

D.C. Police officer Thomas Delahanty, who was shot in the back of the neck by Hinckley, had to retire eight months after the assassination attempt because of pain from his injuries, according to a 2001 Associated Press article. He moved to Pennsylvania, where he still lives. Delahanty told the Associated Press that he was “not too enthused” with a federal judge’s decision to release Hinckley. “But what can you do?” he asked.

Jodie Foster, the young actress with whom Hinckley became obsessed, graduated from Yale University in 1985 and won an Oscar for Best Actress in 1989 for her role in “The Accused,” and again in 1992 for “Silence of the Lambs.” She has continued to act in films, and also has become a director. In 2013, Foster was awarded the Golden Globes Cecil B. DeMille Award. Her most recent directorial effort was “Money Monster” in 2016.

Dr. Joseph Giordano, a George Washington University Hospital vascular specialist, led the team that stabilized President Reagan so that he could be operated upon for the bullet lodged near his heart. Dr. Giordano became chairman of the surgery department at the hospital. He retired from medicine in 2010.


Courtroom Sketches of Ida Libby Dengrove, University of Virginia Law Library

U.S. District Court Judge Barrington D. Parker presided over Hinckley’s 1982 federal trial. He instructed jurors that they had to be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the prosecution had shown that Hinckley knew his actions were wrong, which led to Hinckley being found not guilty by reason of insanity. Parker retired from being a full-time judge in 1985. He died in 1993.

Roger Adelman served the federal government’s senior prosecutor in the Hinckley trial. In his closing argument, he argued unsuccessfully that Hinckley should be held responsible for his actions. “I think we put on our best case,” he recalled years later in an interview. He left the federal prosecutor’s office in 1987 to go into private practice, where he handled class-action suits against tobacco companies and corrupt energy firm Enron. In the 1990s, he also worked for special prosecutor Kenneth Starr in an investigation of the White House travel office, in which no charges were filed. He died in 2015.

Vincent Fuller was the senior attorney on Hinckley’s defense team. He went on to defend other famous clients, including representing financier Mike Milken in his 1989 trial for insider trading, and defending heavyweight champion Mike Tyson in his 1992 rape trial. Unlike Hinckley, though, both of those defendants were convicted. Fuller died in 2006.

John W. (“Jack”) Hinckley, Sr., an oil exploration executive and the father of John Hinckley, moved from Colorado with his wife to a gated golf resort community in Virginia in 1985, in order to be closer to their son, who was confined to St. Elizabeths psychiatric hospital in Washington DC. According to a 2016 Washingtonian magazine article, the elder Hinckley attended group therapy in an effort to heal his relationship with his son, and eventually hosted his son on visits outside of the institution. He died in 2008, eight years before his son was released from the hospital.

Jo Ann Hinckley, the mother of John Hinckley, today lives with her son in a gated community in Virginia. According to Washingtonian, she told her son’s treatment team that “Everything has gone so well, and I will give the thanks all to John. He has everything under control, and he is so good about all his appointments. No one has tried harder than him.”

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