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Reagan Wounded by Assailant's Bullet
A spokesman for the Hinckley family told reporters the suspect had been under psychiatric care, but offered no further details. A family spokesman in Colorado, attorney James Robinson, said the young man's family is "grieving and heartbroken by the tragedy. They love their son and will stick by him. Their hearts and prayers go out to the president and other victims of the shooting."
The Nashville Tennessean reported that a man of that name had been arrested at that city's airport last Oct. 9 with three guns in a suitcase. Two of the guns confiscated in Nashville were the same model .22-caliber revolvers used in the attempt on Reagan yesterday. President Carter had arrived in Nashville two hours before the arrest.
Witnesses said the alleged assailant was waiting in a crowd of reporters and spectators outside the ballroom entrance of the hotel, where Reagan had just addressed a trade-union audience.
Word of the shooting shocked Washington and brought Bush flying back from Texas, where he had been on a speaking trip. Bush returned to the White House early in the evening and joined other senion administration officials awaiting reports from the hospital.
Brady, who was five feet from the president and no further from the assailant, was the most gravely injured person. O'Leary said the assassin's bullet had passed through Brady's brain, leaving him in critical condition. Television networks reported incorrectly in late afternoon that Brady had died, but hospital officials said last evening the 40-year-old press secretary was in surgery and "fighting for his life."
Later, Nofziger said Brady had emerged from surgery at 8:15 p.m. with his "vital signs . . . stable," and the prognosis was "certainly better than it was earlier today. There may be some impairment [of brain function] but the surgeon does not know how much."
Secret Service agemt Timothy J. McCarthy was reported n good condition and Washington policeman Thomas K. Delahanty was reported in serious condition at George Washington and Washington Hospital center, respectively. McCarthy was shot in the stomach and Delahanty in the neck and shoulder.
The assassination attempt sent shock waves around the world. The consternation waqs heightened by confusion, as the first report that Reagan had escaped injury gave way later in the afternoon to speculation about his chances of recovery.
But after surgeons Ben Aaron and Joseph Giordano had completed the surgery, the hospitals, dean for clinical affairs, O'Leary, painted a more hopeful picture of the situation. He said the bullet had missed the heart and aorta and "there were no major bleeding points." He said Reagan received five units of blood before entering surgery but none during the operation.
Pronouncing the 70-year-old president "an excellent physical specimen," O'Leary said "we anticipate no problems" in his recovery.
Michael Borowski, a techanician who assisted at the surgery, said he held the president's hand as he was put under anesthesia. "I saw Reagan looking around at everybody busy doing their things," he said. "He had sort of tears in his eyes. . . . I told him everything was going to be okay.
"He was very quiet. . . . He really had this look of appreciation on his face. That's what really touched me. I just thought to comfort the guy a little -- rub his shoulder while he went under. . . . I sure appreciated being able to do it."