MUSEUM Public Programs

Public Programs of the National Law Enforcement Museum

Witness to History – Assassin in the Crowd: Protecting President Reagan at the Hilton

The National Law Enforcement Museum at the Washington Hilton Hotel held a discussion about the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan on March 30, 1981, by John Hinckley, Jr. President Reagan was only a few months into his presidency when he spoke to representatives from the AFL-CIO at the Hilton Hotel. As he was leaving the building, he waved to the crowds of people, and then a shot rang out. President Reagan’s Secret Service rushed the president into his limo and then to George Washington University Hospital where surgeons repaired the damage from Hinckley’s bullet. Law enforcement officers tackled Hinckley at the hotel and held him at the DC jail until he was formally arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In 1982, Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity and was committed to St. Elizabeths Hospital. Last year, Hinckley was released and is living with his elderly mother in suburban Virginia.



  • Tom Sherwood, Reporter for NBC News4


  • Special Agent Tim McCarthy (ret.), United States Secret Service
  • Special Agent Danny Spriggs (ret.), United States Secret Service
  • Special Agent Tom Baker (ret.), Federal Bureau of Investigation

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