March 30, 1981: The Reagan assassination attempt

On the morning of March 30, 1981, President Reagan was wounded in an assassination attempt in Washington, D.C. The Herald, then published in the afternoon, went to press that day as the president’s fate remained in doubt. Here’s part of the Page 1 story:

Mutual Radio quoted an unnamed hospital doctor as saying the bullet missed the president’s heart by an inch. The network quoted the doctor as saying the bullet struck several arteries, filling part of the chest cavity with blood. The surgery, according to the doctor, began at 1 p.m. PST and was to take one to four hours.

(Secretary of State Alexander) Haig said the president “had one round in his body in the left side, into the left lung, and there is surgery under way now. When the president entered surgery, he was conscious and his condition is stable.”

Mrs. Reagan went immediately to the hospital and ran inside. Vice President George Bush was hurrying back to Washington aboard Air Force Two from Texas.

“As of now,” Haig said, “I am in control in the White House pending the return of the vice president.”

Get a closer look at the March 30, 1981, Herald in our collection of historical front pages.

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