James Brady, the press secretary to President Ronald Reagan shot in an assasination attempt in 1981, is the victim of a homicide.
That’s the ruling of the Washington, D.C. medical examiner, according to NBC News.
Brady, who became partially paralyzed in the attempt on Reagan’s life and later became a staunch gun control advocate, died this week at 73. John Hinckley Jr. has been in jail for the shooting, though he was found not guilty by reason of insanity.
The medical examiner, accoring to the report, says Brady died as a direct result of Hinckley’s bullet, which would open him to the posibility of federal murder charges.
UPDATE via the Associated Press:
William Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, said the office “is reviewing the ruling on the death of Mr. Brady and has no further comment at this time.”
Calls to Hinckley’s attorneys were not immediately returned. Barry Levine, Hinckley’s long-time attorney, has said in court hearings that Hinckley is not a danger.
Gail Hoffman, a spokeswoman for Brady’s family, said the homicide ruling “is not a surprise to any of us.” She said the family would respect whatever prosecutors think is appropriate in dealing with the ruling.
Officials at St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, where Hinckley is a patient, have said that the mental illness that led him to shoot Reagan in an effort to impress actress Jodie Foster has been in remission for decades. Hinckley has been allowed to leave the hospital to visit his mother’s home in Williamsburg, Virginia, and can now spend more than half of his time outside the hospital on such visits.
Brady undertook a personal crusade for gun control after suffering the devastating bullet wound. The Brady law, named after him, requires a five-day wait and background check before a handgun can be sold. President Bill Clinton signed it into law in 1993.