John Hinckley Jr. Will Be Freed 35 Years After Trying to Assassinate President Ronald Reagan
The man who tried to assassinate Ronald Reagan will be released from a government psychiatric hospital 35 years after he shot the former president – and Reagan Foundation officials aren’t happy about the decision.
A federal judge ruled on Wednesday that 61-year-old John Hinckley Jr. no longer poses a danger to himself or others. He will be freed from the St. Elizabeth’s mental hospital in Washington, D.C. and sent to live with his mother in Williamsburg, Virginia, as early as Aug. 5, The Washington Post reports
The judge ruled that Hinckley is ready to rejoin the community, and will do so under a series of conditions the Associated Press reports.
However, in a statement obtained by PEOPLE, officials with the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute said that Hinckley should not be freed.
“John Hinckley is responsible for the shooting of President Reagan and three other brave men. One died two years ago from the wounds he received,” officials said in the statement. “Contrary to the judge’s decision, we believe John Hinckley is still a threat to others and we strongly oppose his release.”
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Hinckley tried to kill Reagan in 1981 in an effort to impress actress Jodie Foster – he became infatuated with her after watching her play an underage prostitute in Taxi Driver.
Along with Reagan, Hinckley shot Reagan’s press secretary, James Brady, in the head and two security men suffered less serious injuries. Brady died in 2014.
He was found guilty by reason of insanity and was admitted to the mental hospital full time for years until eventually being allowed to spend 17 days out of each month at his mother’s home in Williamsburg.
Last year, it was revealed that Hinckley reportedly has a girlfriend.
His brother, Scott Hinckley, said at a hearing last year that his brother met a woman at a National Association for the Mentally Ill meeting and Scott described her and his brother as “somewhat compatible,” NBC News reported then.
Reagan died in 2004 at the age of 93.