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John Hinckley Jr. gained national notoriety in 1981 when he attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan outside of a Washington, D.C. hotel.
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Born in Oklahoma on May 29, 1955, John Hinckley Jr. suffered from depression and obsessive tendencies throughout his life. In the 1970s, Hinckley began stalking actress Jodi Foster. In 1981, he attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan of outside a Washington, D.C. hotel. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity, and was placed in a mental institution.
Born in Ardmore, Oklahoma, on May 29, 1955, John Warnock Hinckley Jr. became infamous in 1981 for his attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan. This would-be assassin had seemingly normal childhood in his early years. He was the youngest of three children. His father was a successful businessman in the energy industry.
Hinckley and his family moved to Texas when he was just a few years old. From all reports, he was a good student and did well in sports, especially basketball and football. Things seemed to change for Hinckley in high school, however. He lost interest in sports and friends, choosing instead to play his guitar and listen to music alone in his room.
After graduating high school, Hinckley attended Texas Tech University in the mid-1970s. He quit college in 1976 and moved to California. Hinckley aspired to be a songwriter, but his career never really got off the ground. Later that year, he moved in with his parents at their Colorado home. Hinckley drifted around over next few years, living in California and then in Texas. During this time, he became fascinated with the 1976 film Taxi Driver starring Robert De Niro and Jodie Foster. The film is about a disfranchised cabbie who wants to save a young prostitute and stalks a presidential candidate. Hinckley saw Taxi Driver up to 15 times.
Hinckley's interest in Taxi Driver evolved into an obsession with actress Jodie Foster. In 1979, he bought his first gun. Hinckley added to his collection over the coming years. He seemed to be struggling psychologically around this time, and he began taking antidepressants and sedatives. "My nervous system is shot," he wrote his sister, according to an article on TruTV's website. "I take heavy medication for it which doesn't seem to do much good."
In 1980, Hinckley moved back in with his parents in Colorado. He received some psychiatric treatment, but it didn't help improve his mental state. Still enthralled with Jodie Foster, Hinckley made several attempts to contact the actress. He was able to get her on the phone twice, but she rebuffed her his efforts to make a connection. To win her over, Hinckley came up with a strange scheme—killing a president. He first wanted to shoot President Jimmy Carter, but this plan foiled before he had a chance to get near the president. Hinckley later turned his attention to the next elected president of the United States.
On March 30, 1981, Hinckley made another attempt to impress Foster. He shot President Ronald Reagan and three other men outside of the Washington Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C. Reagan was leaving the hotel after giving a speech to a gathering of union members when Hinckley fired several shots at the president and his entourage.
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