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During an interview aired on Tuesday’s “CBS Mornings,” the attempted assassin of former President Ronald Reagan, John Hinckley Jr., apologized for the 1981 shooting and said that he is now trying to show he is “an ordinary guy.”
Hinckley sat down with CBS News’ chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett for the interview, during which he said he was remorseful for his actions. Garrett asked Hinckley if the reason he agreed to the interview was to shift some “public perception” of himself. “I’m just trying to show people, I’m kind of an ordinary, ordinary guy who is trying to get along like everybody else. If you think I’m just some crazy person, I’m not that anymore at all,” he told Garrett.
“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,” Hinckley said.
Hinckley fired six shots and hit Reagan in the chest. Reagan’s press secretary James Brady was paralyzed in the attack and Thomas Delahanty, a police officer, as well as Tim McCarthy, a Secret Service agent, were also wounded in the attempted assassination.
In this Nov. 18, 2003 file photo, John Hinckley Jr. arrives at U.S. District Court in Washington. The man who tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan is interested in getting a job in the music industry, possibly in California. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
“I went to Washington Hilton hotel, and he came out from giving a speech. And I was right there, and I fired shots at him which so unfortunately hit other people, too,” Hinckley told Garrett. He said he did not recall what he was feeling at that moment.
Garrett asked if Hinckley believes there would ever be a chance for closure with the Brady family, the Reagan family or actress Jodie Foster. Hinckley, who was then obsessed with Foster, believed he could impress her by killing Reagan.
He said he did not think they wanted to hear from him and that while he knows they probably cannot forgive him, he wishes they would.
“I feel terrible for what I did, and I’ve had remorse for many years for what I did, if I could take it all back, I would, I swear, I would take it all back.”
John Hinckley, Jr. mugshot in on March 30, 1981. (Photo courtesy Bureau of Prisons/Getty Images)
In September 2021, Hinckley was granted unconditional release scheduled for this month.
“Have you ever thought about what would have happened had you succeeded?” Garrett asked Hinckley.
Hinckley said that “history would have been changed” with a new president. The CBS correspondent said that he had traumatized a nation.
“Is there any part of you that wonders how the John Hinckley of that era could have gotten to that point?” Garrett asked.
Hinckley said that he did not “have a good heart.”
“I was doing things that a good person doesn’t do. It is hard for me to relate at all to that person back then,” Hinckley continued.
John Hinckley Jr. sat down with CBS News’ Major Garrett for an interview.
Hinckley, who is an aspiring musician, recently booked a concert at a hotel in New York for July 8. He also said he believed his freedom was just because he was not “just a cold, calculating criminal in 1981.”
“I truly believe I had serious mental illness that was preventing me from knowing right from wrong back then,” he said.
According to CBS, Hinckley also said that he believed Reagan was a “nice man” and a “good president.”
Hanna Panreck is an associate editor at Fox News.