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  1. ITV Report

Former White House press secretary James Brady's death 'was murder'

James Brady died on Monday aged 73. Credit: Reuters

The death of Ronald Reagan's former press secretary James Brady has been classed as a murder, 33 years after he was shot in an assassination attempt.

Brady was shot in the head in 1981 during an attempt on President Reagan's life by John Hinckley Jr.

He was partially paralysed in the attack and died aged 73 on Monday following a series of health issues.

A post-mortem revealed the cause of death to be a gunshot wound, and the manner of death was ruled as murder.

James Brady's death has been ruled as a homicide. Credit: Reuters

“An autopsy was conducted and revealed the cause of death to be a gunshot wound and consequences there of, and the manner of death was ruled a homicide,” a spokesperson for Washington Metropolitan Police Department said.

Hinckley, now 59, was found not guilty of the attempted killing by reason of insanity.

Former White House Secretary James Brady was shot in the head during a 1981 assassination attempt. Credit: Reuters

The ruling could pave the way for murder charges against Hinckley, who remains in a psychiatric hospital.

William Miller, a spokesman for the US attorney's office in Washington, said the office "is reviewing the ruling on the death of Mr Brady and has no further comment at this time".

Brady became a prominent campaigner for stricter gun controls after his attack.

President Bill Clinton signs the Brady Bill in 1993 as James Brady looks on. Credit: Reuters

The so-called "Brady Bill" - requiring greater background checks on gun-buyers - was passed by President Bill Clinton's administration in 1993.

President Barack Obama paid tribute to James Brady after his death, describing him as a "legend" at the White House.