John W. Hinckley Jr., who tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan in 1981, will be allowed to leave a government psychiatric hospital, a federal judge ruled on Wednesday.
Judge Paul L. Friedman of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia wrote in his opinion that Mr. Hinckley no longer posed a danger to himself or others. The release should begin no sooner than Aug. 5, the judge said.
On March 30, 1981, Mr. Hinckley opened fire with a revolver outside the Washington Hilton hotel, where Reagan had just addressed labor leaders. He wounded the president; his press secretary, James S. Brady; a Washington police officer; and a Secret Service agent. Mr. Brady suffered permanent brain damage and eventually died from his injuries in 2014.
The assassination attempt was the culmination of Mr. Hinckley’s obsession with Jodie Foster, which arose from her role as a child prostitute in the 1976 film “Taxi Driver,” in which a disturbed man plots to assassinate a presidential candidate. Mr. Hinckley began to identify with the main character in the film, Travis Bickle, played by Robert De Niro.