tv Crimes of the Century CNN December 4, 2013 12:00am-1:01am PST
>> we will never forget, we'll never know their pain and we only wish we could have stopped this to reduce the number of victims. attempt" we don't know precisely what happened. >> oh, my god. >> he's been shot. >> get down! >> the president of the united states has been shot. >> i could see it through the viewfinder. >> even now -- >> an inch from his heart. >> he was minutes away from not making it. >> who is the shooter? >> he says, you know about that, you know about anything. >> a bizarre motive. >> he thought the relationship was real. >> he was a real severe disturbed person. >> and his crime changed history. "the shooting of ronald reagan," next.
on january 20, 1981, ronald wilson reagan was sworn in at the 40th president of the united states. >> i, ronald reagan, do solemnly swear -- >> as with most new administrations, reagan's first couple of months are rocky. >> this is the 70th day of reagan's presidency. things were not going particularly well. he had a very low approval rating, the lowest of any president in his first term. it's a monday. reagan has one deal, deliver a speech to the afl-cio.
it's 2:00, reagan's the motorcade arrived behind us, this is the special entrance, the v.i.p. entrance reagan walked into when he first arrived. >> governmental duty is to protect the people, no the run their lives. >> the event is covered by all the major networks. for abc news photography hank brown, it's a routine job. >> we wanted to get the picture of the president walking out of the hotel and getting in the limo. >> 15 feet from that door was a rope line. >> all that the cameramen and everybody's laughing. it was unsecured. no i.d. checks. people thought it was a press line. it wasn't. anyone could be behind that line. >> you see hinckley's face about three rows back totally passive. no reaction at all.
>> i get my camera out, aimed it at the door that the president's coming out. i could see it through the viewfinder even now. >> reagan is walking towards his motorcade. secret service agents surrounding him as he goes toward the car. >> a few feet away from him, john hinckley jr., he pulls out his .22 caliber revolver and unleashes six shots in 1.7 seconds. 1.7 seconds is the time it takes me to say 1.7 seconds. >> it's that fast. >> the first shot hits jim brady, the press secretary, in the head. >> brady is seen here between reagan and secret service agent jerry parr. >> the second shot hits tom, a
d.c. police officer in the back. >> get down! >> the third shot goes high, hits that building across the street right there. the fourth shot hits timothy mccarthy, secret service agent square in the chest. he's not wearing a bullet-proof vest. he falls to the ground. >> the fifth shot hits the armored bullet-proof window of the car as reagan and car flash behind it diving in. the sixth shot tracks across the driveway. no one knows where that sixth shot went in later they realize it slapped off the side of the car, slipped through a gap between the door and the door frame. >> i thought it was firecrackers. and the next thing i knew, one of the secret service agents behind me just -- seized me here by the waist and plunged me head first into the limo. >> the agent is 50-year-old jerry paar, head of reagan's secret service detail. >> as we go in, i go in on top
of him and i'm sure i hit my radio or gun or something hit him in the back. >> and i said, jerry, get off. i think you've broken a rib. >> jerry is looking out the window pulling out -- looking out the window. he sees three men down. a bullet mark in the left window. knows there's been an assassination attempt and that limousine is alone. >> shots fired. shots fired. >> paar checks reagan out really quickly. he seems okay. reagan thinks he's okay. >> but i ran my hands up under his belt. no blood. run my hands up under his arms. no blood. >> rawhide is okay. >> rawhide is the secret service code name and on this day, there's no better name for a president like ronald reagan. >> back to the white house. back to the white house. >> rawhide is okay.
>> we interrupt. there's been a late development. shots fired outside the hotel where president reagan spoke. here's bernard rashard. >> my apology. details are very sketchy at this moment. we don't know precisely what happened. we don't know the sequence. first, the president is safe. >> safe, yes, but not okay. >> reagan starts complaining of pain in his back and chest and side. not feeling so good, and just then i coughed. and i had a handful of bright red frothy -- blood. >> and he said, i think i've cut the inside of my mouth. i said, let me look. it was pretty profuse. >> paar knows this is big trouble so he has a decision to make. do i head back to the white house, the safest place, or avert to george washington hospital, where there's not an ounce of security. >> do we want to go to the emergency? george washington?
>> that's a roger. >> ronald reagan's hung in the balance of a split second and i'm not exaggerating. >> george washington. >> hustle, hustle, hustle. >> outside the hotel, the scene is chaotic. in the bedlam, the shooter is tackled. >> there was pushing. there was shoving. >> back up! >> you can hear the agents scream, get him outta here! get him outta here! and at the same time the ambulance was arriving, so i immediately went back to filming the scene. i thought, i had to preserve history. it brought tears to my eyes. i still see brady lying there.
i still think about delahanty. i see his face. i still see mccarthy being lifted up off the ground and being thrown back by the bullet. >> within minutes of the shoot, president reagan arrives at george washington hospital. he insists on walking in. >> the nurse met me and i told her i've had more trouble breathing. >> the president was at the point where we would say he was ready to crash. the next thing i knew, then my knees began to turn to rubber and i wound up on a gurney. >> if he had gone to the white house, they would have dragged him out of the car, found out he was in big trouble, put him back in the car, drove him to the hospital. it would have took 10 maybe 15 minutes. he didn't have that time. and there's a nurse trying to get his blood pressure.
he's not going so good and she's going, oh, my god. he's going to die. i'm going to lose the president of the united states. >> i didn't know i was shot. >> i really believe he was minutes away from not making it. >> the shot that got me careens off the side of the limousine and hit me while i was diving into the car. and it hit me back here, under the arm, and then hit a rib. and that's what caused an extreme pain, and then it tumbled, it turned. instead of edgewise and went tumbling down to within an inch of my heart. >> first lady nancy reagan is in the solarium at the white house when she gets the news. >> george, head of my detail said, there's been a shooting, but don't worry. the president's all right. george kept saying, you don't have to go. he's all right. he hasn't been hurt. i said, george, i'm going. you better get the car, because i'm going.
>> she comes into the e.r. and the first thing ronald reagan says to her is, honey, i forgot the duck. as he's prepped for surgery, reagan stays in character and jokes with his doctors. >> he looked at me and says, i hope you're all republican, and i'm a notorious liberal democrat and i said, president, today we're all republicans. >> the surgical team is led by dr. benjamin aaron. >> as the main head surgeon, digging through the president's chest looking for a bullet that could lodge do his brain and kill him. he tucked the president's beating heart in his hand and held it aside. a 31-year-old surgical intern literally held the beating heart of the president of the united states in his hand. >> while reagan is in surgery, the suspect, john w. hinckley
jr. of evergreen, colorado, is being questioned. >> he admitted who he was. he made no attempt to hide who he was. >> the fbi and secret service have two questions. why did he do it, and, did he act alone. >> he said to them at the time you'll understand why i did this when you see my room. >> according to sources, john hinckley jr., the accused gunman, may have tried to kill mr. reagan because of an infatuation with a young actress.
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including postage and a digital scale. we can report that shots were fired as president reagan left the washington hilton hotel following that address we carried live here on cnn. the suspect was rushed to district of police headquarters. >> john w. hinckley jr., age 25, is a complete mystery to his captors. >> when i walked in the room, john hinckley was just sitting quietly on a seat, showed no
emotion. >> secret service agent stephen kolo is among the first to see hinckley. >> he told me that his wrist hurt, because of the handcuffs that were placed on him and that his had throat hurt. someone hurt his throat when they arrested him. well, it certainly, in my mind, it was not typical that he was complaining about himself after he had just shot a number of people. >> as investigators begin to question hinckley, white house press secretary jim brady's wife sarah brady, is at home with their 2-year-old son. >> we were sitting in our rec room watching television when they announced that -- >> the president did not appear to be hurt, according to united press international. >> i thought to myself, oh, that's great. never dreaming that jim would even have been with him, for some reason. the phone rang immediately. it was a friend of mine, and she had heard that jim had been shot.
>> the white house immediately sends a car to take sarah to the hospital. >> for some reason i just thought -- it never dawned on me he'd be badly hurt or killed. i just kept thinking, he was shot in the arm. >> it was very obvious he was seriously injured with a gunshot wound to the head, but he was alive, and probably shouldn't have made it, but he got exceedingly great medical care from the doctor. >> with mrs. brady on the way to the hospital, hospital workers secured a room in the waiting room. >> she came over to me and we hugged each other and she said, i am so scared. and i said, i am, too. >> while surgeons worked to save the shooting victim, suspect john hinckley is transferred to the fbi's washington field office for questioning. two senior fbi agents are
assigned to conduct the interview. as a courtesy, they invite secret service agent steve kolo to sit in. >> i was there in a liaison position at that time keeping in mind the secret service could not be part of the investigation, because technically, the secret service is at fault any time one of our protectees has been shot or injured. >> before the questioning begin, the agent's inventory hinkley's personal possessions. >> when they opened the wallet there was a picture. the belief was that the picture of this attractive woman came with the wallet, because she was somewhat recognizable as, like, a young starlet, but none of us knew her name. there was a piece of paper that was stuck in the billfold section with a telephone number on it. one of the police officers said, oh, that's a connecticut tell number. it meant nothing to me at the time. >> when the interview begin,
hinckley doesn't react well to the questions by the fbi interrogators so they ask agent kolo to step in. within minutes, hinckley opens up. >> he told me about the different doctors he had been to. he talked to me about dropping out of school. he talked about his relationship with his parents and how annoyed they were with him. so i asked him, how could you explain his issues? and he says, i have no direction in life. i decided to take a long shot. so i said to him, i saw the piece of paper with the telephone number. the number that goes to connecticut. when i said that to him, he all of a sudden became animated. here was a guy who was almost stoic in his answers and all of a sudden now he is twitching and he says, well, if you know about that, you know about everything. and i knew i hit on a really important fact, and i had no
idea what he was talking about. so i said to him, i know, but i have to hear it in your words. and he said, well, that telephone number goes to yale university. it goes to jodie foster's room. and bingo. that was the picture in the wallet. >> back at the hospital, the doctor is meticulously removing tissue from brady's brain. the surgery is slow and dangerous. >> at one point they hear on the radio, braid has died. the report is, brady is dead. what do think they i'm operating on a corpse? that's what he said. >> and they kept it totally away from us, because we had no television or anything like that, which is really good. >> but a lot of team did hear, including friends who were watching tv with the brady's 2-year-old son scott.
>> when they announced his death they showed his picture. scott said, oh, there's my daddy, and went up and kissed the screen. but, of course, he didn't -- he didn't know that -- >> after five hour, the doctor emerges from the operating room. >> the minute i saw his face i knew it was successful. i mean, it was -- a miracle. >> against all odds, jim brady survives, though he'll be permanently disabled and wheelchair bound for the rest of his life. the other victims also undergo surgery, and survive. secret service agent tim mccarthy was hit in the chest. and d.c. policeman tom delahanty was shot in the back. that's evening, fbi agents search john hinckley's washington, d.c. hotel room. >> hinckley had laid out, this was the bizarre thing, really bizarre, he had laid out there
from the morning's newspaper and the president's schedule. he had beside that a statement, really, in the form of a letter to the actress jodie foster. >> in his letter hinckley writes, i am doing all this for your sake, jodie. i'm asking you to, please, look into your heart and at least give me the chance with this historical deed to gain your respect and love. i love you forever. john hinckley. >> it was when we read the letter from the hotel room that we finally put the pieces together. >> it looked to all of us, gut feeling, this is a lone gunman and there was the motive. to impress this actress. >> we can understand political motives, but here we have a motive of love. i'm only in my 60's. i've got a nice long life ahead. big plans. so when i found out medicare doesn't pay all my medical expenses,
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president reagan had just delivered a fairly well received speech at the washington hilton hotel, then shots. >> within 24 hours of the assassination attempt, the fbi and secret service are digging deeply into john hinckley jr.'s background. >> leads were going out all over the country. we literally took his life apart to track him off every receipt he ever had, any dollar that was spent that we could track.
we wanted to know where he'd been and what he had done as far back as we could go. >> what they found was a long trail of despair, deceit and delusion. hinckley had a seemingly normal childhood growing up in an affluent suburb of dallas, texas. he played sports as a boy and did well in school, but as he grew older, hinckley began to withdraw. his parents chocked it up to shyness. >> from the time hinckley graduated from this high school, highland park, as an adversary in 1973 until his arrest there was also a personality change. he had become quieter. somewhat of a recluse. >> in 1973 hinckley moved to evergreen, colorado, with his parents. they hoped he would go to college. he did for a while attending texas tech on and off for a few years but never graduating. mostly he spent time in his room alone, writing gloomy poems and playing his guitar.
♪ >> i dreamed of being a songwriter, musician. so for some reason he spent time out in l.a. pretending he would sell his music to companies and stuff. certainly he has a grandiose view of himself. he thought of himself as a musician. >> he sat and watched tv in his apartment. he didn't go anywhere. >> he seemed like a sense of a lost soul that goes out to hollywood expecting something and just ends up in a room by himself and going to see this movie over and over, the "taxi driver" movie. the "taxi driver" movie. >> the police realize the "taxi driver" movie is important in his life. even so he personifies the lead character played by robert de niro.
hinckley begins dressing in army fatigues, like bickle. he begins drinking peach brandy, like bickle. and he becomes obsessed with guns and assassination, like bickle. [ gunfire ] >> he saw that movie 15 times. "taxi driver" a very violent movie, and he becomes obsessed with jodie foster in this movie. >> jodie foster plays a 12-year-old prostitute named iris. >> he felt the relationship with jodie foster was real and not something based on her role in a movie. he was just one of these warped guys. >> while the fbi investigates hinckley, ronald reagan is recovering at george washington hospital which has been transformed into the seat of government. >> the white house is always wherever the president is. everything had moved there. the decisions were being made,
and the staff was over there. it was so strange. >> it's turmoil around here. i thought for intensive care, you know, everybody would be whispering. it's like grand central station. >> everything was very surreal for a couple days there. i mean it just -- it was like living in a, a movie. >> has the president asked or been told about his condition to the press secretary? >> he is not aware of the other people who were shot and injured at this time. >> it isn't until reagan asks his staff if anyone else is shot that he's told about officer delahanty, agent mccarthy and press secretary jim brady. >> he called me down and said he was so sorry. and i told him -- you know, that jim was doing what he loved to do the most, and i kind of tried to reassure him, but he was very emotional about it, of course.
>> reagan also wants to see the secret service agent who took a bullet for him, tim mccarthy. >> reagan looks at him and maybe senses something in mccarthy, i don't know. look the at him and says, so, tim, mccarthy, reagan, brady and delahanty. what did this guy have against the irish? >> he handled very well. as he said to us in his interview, he didn't know what had happened. he still managed to make jokes about it, bring his personality forward to make everybody in the country feel better about themselves. >> everybody but john hinckley jr.
in this hour john hinckley jr. pleads not guilty to charges he tried to kill president reagan and both he and his lawyer agree he is competent to stand trial. >> from the moment he was arrested the issue of sanity became paramount to the legal teams assigned to prosecute and defend john hinckley. >> facing a judge for the first time, hinckley stood while the clerk read the 13 count indictment. among the spectators were hinckley's parents. they watched intently as the clerk asked their son, how do you plead? in a clear, loud voice, the 26-year-old hinckley answered, not guilty. >> you know, hinckley is an interesting person, but not interesting at the same time. >> there didn't seem to be much
there. you could not form a rapport with him. he seemed to have little expression of emotion. >> dr. will carpenter, a research psychologist at the university of maryland was hired to give an expert opinion in hinckley's defense. >> i believed that i spent about 44 hours evaluating him. most of that would have been in interviews with him. he was self-centered, but he wasn't narcissistic. it was more like kind of a loner who doesn't have much else going on. and then would get grandiose ideas including delusional ideas. >> he made up a whole girlfriend for his parents for a year. she didn't exist. >> she seemed awfully real to him at time, but it was very much to manipulate his parents so he could be off and doing what it was that he intended to do without their interfering. >> in the summer of 1980, hinckley read a story about jodie foster, the 18-year-old
actress was taking a sabbatical from hollywood to attend yale university. so hinckley told his parents that he was going back to college. but at yale, not texas tech. >> so he makes up an elaborate ruse to his parents how he's going to go to yale for a writing class that doesn't exist, and all the time spends stalking foster. finds out where she live, slipping notes under her door, on the phone with her. and he would take these calls. >> who is this? oh, no. who is this? who is this? >> this is john. >> who? oh, no. not you again. look, i really can't talk to you. okay? look, do me a really big favor. do you understand why i can't, you know, carry on these conversations with you, someone i don't know. you understand it's dangerous and it's not fair. all right? >> i understand that, it's just -- >> so you just don't ever want
me calling. >> no. really nice talking to you. >> he started to yell at the recorder. hang up, hang up! because this is what we tell our wife or our daughter. you know, you hang up right away. >> really sad and pathetic calls. reaching out to this woman he idolize and wanting to be part of it. he gets in his mind, if i get the president of the united states, she'll want me. she'd know i am. so he starts stalking jimmy carter. >> it was just one month before president reagan is elected. jimmy carter and president reagan were campaigning hard for every vote. >> john hinckley gets within arm's reach of jimmy carter in dayton, ohio. >> one week later hinckley is in nashville, tennessee, still stalking carter. when hinckley leaves, airport police find several guns in his luggage.
>> he was arrested, fingerprinted and photographed for carrying a weapon and the information was never sent to the secret service. they took the weapons. he paid a fine. and that was the end of that. >> within days, hinckley is in dallas where his sister lives, shopping for more guns at rocky's pawn shop. he buys two revolvers for $98, including the one he's use to shoot president reagan. >> he purchased it legally at the time. caliber .22. a very lightweight snub nose handgun. >> he'd actually gone to firing ranges. he had trained, or go to self-training. >> john hinckley took a lot of practice. he took a lot of target practice. he never shot at moving targets. and moving the president towards that opening limousine door. >> john hinckley's fragile world begins to crack when he hears
shocking news from new york city. >> the news ripped through the air in shock waves. john lennon shot and killed in the dakota apartment building where he lived. >> the suspect is identified as mark david chapman. >> hinckley idolized lennon. that new year's eve he locks himself in his room at his parents' house. drinks peach brandy. plays his guitar and wallows in his own misery. ♪ sometime during the night, hinckley writes in his diary, john lennon is dead. forget it. it's just going to be insanity. i still think about jodie all the time. anything i might do in 1981 would be solely for jodie foster's sake. i want to tell the world that i love her.
>> but this time hinckley is not just leaving her notes. he's contemplating a violent act. >> he had guns with him when he was in new haven stalking jodie foster and just unsure what he was doing with it. >> spurned once more by foster and feeling suicidal, hinckley goes to new york city, still carrying the guns he bought in dallas. >> we talked about the guns and the whole history with guns, and he described, you know, having them with him when he was in new york and he considered killing himself then, kind of standing on the place where chapman had been occupants the dakota. >> but hinckley does not act on any of his thoughts. instead he goes back to evergreen, colorado, where his parents live. >> came back, and there was a lot of friction between him and his mother and father what he would do with his life. get a job or not. they recognized some mental problems and sought a psychiatrist.
>> hinckley saw a psychiatrist the previous october. >> in one of the sessions tells the psychiatrist, hey, i'm really interested in guns and jodie foster. i'm obsessed with these two things. after that, the psychiatrist never asked him another question about those two things. >> at one point, the psychiatrist had told his parents their son was simply immature, he needed to grow up, get a job and live on his own. the last of 15 sessions takes place 4 1/2 weeks before the shooting. >> the mother of the troubled young man might have kept him home. the brother and the sister would have had him institutionalized, but the family followed the psychiatrist advice as troubled families will do and to put it mildly, it didn't work out. >> his parents actually gave him an ultimatum. they were supplying the funding for his travels. and they were getting tired of it, and they told him emphatically in these words that
he had to clean up his act and get a job and they're cutting off his funds at the end of march. he was not capable of taking that as a challenge and then straightening his life out. he was more capable of drifting off as a loner into his own fantasy world, and so at the end of march, he makes the decision that he has to do something. >> six days before the shooting, hinckley flies to los angeles, then boards a bus to washington, d.c. from there, he'll go to new haven and commit his act of love for jodie foster. he even writes her another note telling her to wait for him. >> his plan was to shoot foster, shoot himself, kill both of them in this orgy of violence. that was his plan. >> on his way to yale, hinckley stops off in d.c. he checks into the park central hotel, sleeps, gets up and goes for a fast-food breakfast.
>> it was just by chance that that morning he got up at 10:00, read the paper and saw the president was going to the hilton, to talk to the afl-cio, saw the president's schedule on page a4. i'll see how close i can get to the president with my gun. he writes foster a note. takes a cab up to the hotel. gets there. behind the rope line as reagan is approaching. pullings out his .22 caliber revolver -- [ gunfire ] >> he thought something magical was going to happen that didn't have anything to do with ronald reagan, it had to do with some union that he was going to have with jodie foster. >> by the spring of 1982, a year after the presidential assassination attempt, the four victims are all healing. jim brady's recovery is
painfully slow but positive. the use of his left side of his body, retains cognitive thinking and great sense of humor. agent tim mccarthy makes a full recovery and continues his career with the secret service. d.c. police officer tom della -of-forced hi retirement, president reagan surprised his doctors and the nation, healing quickly for a man his age, as for john hinckley jr., his life story was a tabloid soap opera played out for a worldwide audience. >> about his assailant mr. reagan said, i hope and pray he can find an answer to his problem. said the president, he seems to be a very disturbed young man. >> even jim brady was compassionate. >> he said, well, he didn't hold any ill-will toward him, but then again, he hoped he wouldn't
win the irish sweepstakes. >> hinckley's motive seemed simply surreal. >> none of this was political. it was a way to try to force the recognition that should be granted to him. >> in a surprising move, the judge in the case ordered jodie foster to give a deposition for the trial. it took place march 30th, 1982. the first anniversary of the shooting. by court order, hinckley was aloud in the room. when foster denied a relationship hinckley became enraged. he had to be restrained, and removed from the room. >> i received a great deal of unsolicited mail. i have never met, spoken to or in any way associated with one john w. hinckley. last fall i received several pieces of unsolicited correspondence, and i threw them all away.
prosecution had to disapprove the insanity claim beyond a reasonable doubt. >> professor richard bonnie is an expert on law and psychiatry. he wrote what is considered a definitive textbook on the hinckley trial. >> as far as the prosecution is concerned that the dominant diagnosis was this was a person of a narcissistic personality disorder that was inmatch waited with jodie foster and basically what he wanted was to be painless and that he was in touch with reality. as far as the defense was concerned that he basically had a form of schizophrenia, a schizophrenic personality disorder. that he was out of touch with reality, descending into psychosis, that he was delusional. >> my interpretation of insanity goes back to the old mcnorton rule. and it's basically can the individual differentiate right
from wrong. and clearly, during my interview with john hinckley, he clearly understood the difference between right and wrong. >> the prosecution argued that hinckley had carefully planned the attack. >> fact that he was able to travel, the fact that he did look at the schedule, put that type of effort into this event, devastated around, that's premeditated activity. >> the defense countered with dr. will carpenter's testimony on schizophrenia. >> general illnesses like ji schizophrenia, people can do thinking in a normal way. hinckley, his was more of a reality distortion, false
beliefs and just belief in those that guide his life. >> it came down to our psychiatrist versus his psychiatrist. >> don w. hinckley jr. has been found not guilty by reason of insanity on all three counts. >> i was surprised at the verdict. i think almost everyone was surprised by this verdict. >> i would characterize it as astonishment. >> i think the reason it went in that direction is that the prosecution basically denied mental illness. >> this was a case in which there was much evidence in hinkley's own hand, in his writings in his poetry, in his essays to suggest that he was in fact degeneratoring into a psychotic killer by the time
march '81 rolled around. >> expecting a guilty verdict, hinckley had prepared a statement. from the start, all i wanted was for someone to love me. on march 30th, 1981, i was asking my family to take me back. and i was asking jodie foster to hold me in her heart. my assassination attempt was an act of love. after the verdict, hinckley was committed indefinitely to st. elizabeth's hospital in washington, d.c. >> it wasn't until years later that i was assigned to the reagan detail. and we had an opportunity, when i was in the limo with the president, to talk about john hinckley. his desire was john hinckley got the necessary help that he needed. and then he said, i have to tell you something, it hurt like hell. >> reagan had a very good way of putting things behind him. he was very good at kind of
separating himself from that moment. i don't think it bothered him. nancy reagan, it would have worried her. she was concerned about every timele they would make mention that john hinckley would be released. she would come to me and say, steve, i just need to make sure that won't happen. >> in 2003 the year before president reagan died, a federal judge ruled that hinckley bass no longer a danger to himself and others and should be allowed limited visits to his mother's home in virginia. to this day, the secret service watches hinckley, tracking his whereabouts, the people he meets, even the books he checks out of the library. >> is he dangerous to other people still? will he do this again? >> i never had any sense that there was any deep remorse, and i don't think that he'll be very capable. he had mental illness at that time and there are still issues. clearly, i think that he is
where he should be. >> in the years after the assassination attempt, president ronald reagan's approval rating skyrocketed. >> mr. gorbachev tear down this wall. >> he became the most popular. jim and sarah brady efforts paid off in 1993 with the signing of the brady violence prevention act. it required federal background checks on commercial sales of handguns to individuals. unfortunately, the brady bill came too late for john w. hinckley. several months after the shooting, his father asked him what might have stopped him.
hinckley replied, maybe in i had to wait a while to buy a gun, fill out forms or get a permit or sign in with police or anything complicated, i probably wouldn't have done it. one was world renown, one the greate esest musicses. >> the other was a lonely kid from georgia, with no particular talents and no real direction in life. >> everyone said he was a nice person. he wanted to bring attention to him. >> they were as different as night and day. two men on intent personal journeys that converged in a single shocking