WASHINGTON (WRC) -- The death of James Brady -- President Ronald Reagan's press secretary who was wounded in the attempt on Reagan's life in March 1981 -- was a homicide, the District of Columbia medical examiner ruled Friday.
The medical examiner said Brady died as a result of the grievous injuries he suffered 33 years ago, which means that gunman John Hinckley Jr. could be charged with Brady's murder in federal court.
Brady was 73 when he died earlier this week. He had been partially paralyzed and in a wheelchair since the shooting, and his speech was slurred. He used his own example to launch a campaign against gun violence that led to groundbreaking gun control legislation signed into law in 1993.
The medical examiner's ruling has the potential to open the door to federal murder charges against Hinckley, who is now a mental patient at St. Elizabeth's hospital in suburban Washington.
Hinkley was found not guilty by reason of insanity of attempted assassination of President Reagan.
Brady and Reagan were shot on March 30, 1981 as they left the Washington Hilton Hotel.