Secret Service Agent Who Took Bullet for Reagan Speaks

Sunday, 31 Mar 2013 08:40 PM

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It was 30 years ago this weekend that mentally disturbed gunman John Hinckley shot and wounded President Ronald Reagan and three others.

Among them was the Secret Service agent who famously “took a bullet” for the president that day – Tim McCarthy, who has been the police chief of Oakland Park, Illinois, for the past 18 years.

McCarthy, who lost a coin toss to take the duty covering the president that day, says his life "changed for one reason. It was on videotape."

But he insists he's glad in one way he lost the coin toss.

"Only in the sense that I was able to do the job that day. I was tested and you never know if you’re going to do it right,” McCarthy told Chicago's CBS 2, one of several interviews he gave for the anniversary of the assassination attempt.

Reagan was just 69 days into his first term when Hinckley fired at him six times. The barrage also struck White House press secretary James Brady, and Washington, D.C., Police Officer Thomas Delahanty.

McCarthy was the son of a Chicago Police officer from the South Side of Chicago. He was at Reagan's side when the shots were fired. Trained as all the best agents are, McCarthy instinctively dove in front of the president and was hit in the chest.

That move clearly saved the president’s life and changed what could have been yet another tragic, history-altering assassination of a president.

To this day he insists he’s an accidental hero.

“I did what needed to be done that day,” McCarthy told CBS 2. “That’s what you’re trained to do, cover and evacuate,” McCarthy said.


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