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Reagan shooter released after 35 years

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Would-be presidential assassin John Hinckley Jr. has been released from a psychiatric hospital, 35 years after he shot US president Ronald Reagan in an attack prompted by a deranged obsession with actress Jodie Foster.

Mr Hinckley, 61, is moving in with his elderly mother in a gated community in Williamsburg, Virginia, where he has been making increasingly long furlough visits in recent years under the watchful eyes of the US Secret Service. A federal judge in July ordered Mr Hinckley’s release from St Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, finding that he no longer posed a danger to himself or to others.

Mr Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity at a 1982 trial and was diagnosed with depression and psychosis, both of which are now in remission, according to his doctors. US media, including The Washington Post, reported that Mr Hinckley was officially released from St Elizabeth’s last Saturday, when he had been scheduled to be freed.

As a 25-year-old college dropout, Mr Hinckley had grown fixated on Foster and the Martin Scorsese film, Taxi Driver, in which she played a teenage prostitute.

Inspired by the film’s main character, who plots to kill a presidential candidate, Mr Hinckley opened fire on Mr Reagan outside a Washington, DC hotel on March 30, 1981, in a misguided attempt to win Foster’s affections.

Mr Reagan suffered a punctured lung but recovered quickly. His press secretary James Brady was left permanently disabled and eventually died of his injuries in 2014.