Medical Examiner: 33-Year-Old Bullet Killed James Brady

Former White House Press Secretary James Brady visits the press briefing room that bears his name in the West Wing of the White House March 30, 2011 in Washington, DC. Brady was visiting the White House on the 30th anniversary of the day he was shot in the head by John Hinckley, Jr., during his attempted assassination former President Ronald Reagan March 30, 1981.
Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Ronald Reagan’s press secretary, James Brady, died Monday at the age of 73. But now, a medical examiner has ruled Brady’s death a homicide, linking it to the bullet that hit him during a 1981 attempt on Reagan’s life.

Brady was shot in the head during the assassination attempt. He survived to become a gun-control advocate but wasn’t able to fully recover — he used a wheelchair for the rest of his life and had slurred speech. Some reports say he had short-term memory loss.

At the time, shooter John Hinckley Jr. pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity and has been institutionalized for decades. Ryan Parker recapped the insanity plea on Monday:

During his trial, Hinckley’s defense argued he had schizophrenia and became infatuated with Jodie Foster, believing killing Reagan would impress the actress.

Hinckley, the defense said, became obsessed with Foster after seeing her in the 1976 Martin Scorsese film “Taxi Driver.”

Now the charges he once evaded are back to get him, but prosecutors will have to prove that it was the proximate cause of death.

A 33-Year-Old Bullet Killed James Brady