Ronald Reagan

James Brady's Death Ruled a Homicide

As a result of his injuries from the failed Reagan assassination attempt


The death of James Brady—President Ronald Reagan's press secretary who was wounded in the attempt on Reagan's life in March 1981—was a homicide, the District of Columbia medical examiner ruled Friday.

The medical examiner said Brady died as a result of the grievous injuries he suffered 33 years ago, which means that gunman John Hinckley Jr. could be charged with Brady's murder.

Brady was 73 when he died earlier this week. He had been partially paralyzed and in a wheelchair since the shooting, and his speech was slurred. He used his own experience to launch a campaign against gun violence that led to groundbreaking gun control legislation signed into law in 1993.


NEXT: Jonathan Chait is Wrong About Reason's Polling

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I’d rule him a grabber dirtbag, but that has nothing to do with his death.

  2. Throw the book at Hinkley

  3. This sets a precedent that if you are in an “at fault” accident and someone dies 30 years later from “complications”, you’re on the line for manslaughter? If your convicted of X, serve your time, but “complications” set in 45 years later, you get tried again for a different crime? Does double jeopardy come into play at all? Is is just felonious conduct? Misdemeanor? How about simply tortious?

    We have all heard of “pre-crime”, it now seems that ANY action we’ve ever taken, if it can be traced back to us, every “butterfly effect” we’ve ever had, can come back to haunt us. Granted firing bullets at people doesn’t necessarily make for a sympathetic character, but what if I have a patch of ice on my side walk? An old person slips and breaks a hip? No malice aforethought, but they spend a majority of the rest of their life in a wheel chair. Homeowners insurance pays off, premiums go up, I feel bad for a little while, try and salt better. But lack of ambulation, a “complication”, is seen as a contributor to pneumonia which kills them. Does my “negligence” suddenly become manslaughter eight years later?

    What’s the bright line? Even if there is one, will lawyers, looking for a payday, exploit decade long “complications”? Bureaucrats “hammers” looking for “nails” to pound? It’s just scary.

    1. Ruling it a homicide isn’t the same as convicting Hinkley of homicide.

      But I think it’s reasonable to argue that if I am responsible for putting someone in a wheelchair, then I am responsible for the complications that arise as a result.

      1. 33 years later? I have no idea what Brady’s condition was, but let’s say he hadn’t had proper control of his diet, and being non-ambulatory, had grown obese. He then dies of obesity-related causes. Is the shooter still responsible, when if he had received proper care he would not have been obese, even if he was in the chair?

  4. When I saw the link (“James Brady’s Death Ruled a Homicide”) I thought for a minute that maybe Sarah had suffocated him with ClingWrap for the insurance money.

    1. Me too! Evil minds think alike.

  5. What a stupid pile of BS. Is your mom responsible for your death by giving birth to you?

  6. I never had the urge to shit on someone’s grave before now.

  7. This is liberal BS. Suppose you break your girlfriend’s heart by screwing around on her. Subsequently, she never marries and dies of a broken heart 33 years later. YOU ‘murdered’ her and you should be hung by the neck until dead, right? Anyone who buys into this nonsense is weak minded.

  8. Time for more gun control legislation!

  9. I just asked my son “If a piano fell on me and killed me, what would be the cause of death?” and his response without a pause was “smoking”.

    That is some good parenting right there.

  10. Makes one wonder, what, if anything No Gun Jasbo could have died from that wouldn’t have been related to the shooting.

    I mean, hubris can’t be fatal can it?

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.