WASHINGTON (AP) — The Secret Service agent credited with saving President Ronald Reagan’s life on the day he was shot outside a Washington hotel has died.
The retired agent, Jerry Parr of Washington, District of Columbia, died Friday at the age of 85.
Parr was in charge of Reagan’s detail on March 30, 1981, when a young man with mental problems, John Hinckley Jr., shot the president outside the Washington Hilton. When the shots rang out, Parr pushed Reagan inside the presidential limousine and it sped away for the White House.
After Reagan complained of chest pains and showed blood on his lips, Parr redirected the limousine to George Washington Hospital. As it turned out, Reagan had been hit in the chest and was bleeding internally. Doctors later said that any delay would have cost the president his life.
In a statement Friday, former first lady Nancy Reagan called Parr “one of my true heroes.”
Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy said Parr’s actions “preserved the institution of the Office of the Presidency.”
“Every Secret Service agent was well aware of what he did for not only the Secret Service, but more importantly, his country,” Clancy wrote in a statement on Saturday.
Parr was born on Sept. 16, 1930, in Birmingham, Alabama. An Air Force veteran, he joined the Secret Service in 1962. He retired in 1985 and became an ordained minister.
He is survived by his wife, Carolyn, and three daughters.