Thomas Delahanty

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For the Maine judge, see Thomas E. Delahanty. For his son, United States Attorney for the District of Maine, see Thomas E. Delahanty II.
Thomas K. Delahanty
District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department
Born 1934 (age 79–80)
Place of birth Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Country United States
Years of service 1959–1981
Rank Sworn in as an officer - 1959
Chaos outside the Washington Hilton Hotel after the assassination attempt on President Reagan. Delahanty (with arm outstretched) and Brady lie wounded on the ground.

Thomas K. Delahanty (born c. 1934) is a retired District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department officer who was wounded during the assassination attempt on U.S. President Ronald Reagan on Monday, March 30, 1981, in Washington, D.C.

Reagan assassination attempt[edit]

President Reagan, White House Press Secretary James Brady, and Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy were also wounded in the crossfire. Delahanty was shot in the neck by one of John Hinckley, Jr.'s six bullets,[1][2][3] and he fell to the ground next to Brady (who had been seriously wounded in the head).


Delahanty was taken to Washington Hospital Center. He went home eleven days later on Friday, April 10, 1981, and was quoted as saying, "I feel good . . . I'm ready to go." [4]

Since the bullet had ricocheted off his spinal cord after striking his neck, he suffered permanent nerve damage to his left arm. Delahanty was cited for heroism for his valiant effort to protect the President, and was ultimately forced to retire from the Washington police force due to his disability. Delahanty lives in suburban Washington.


He later sued Hinckley, Hinckley's psychiatrist and the manufacturer of the gun, Röhm (RG). His argument against the manufacturer, that small, cheap guns have no purpose except for crime, and thus that the company should be held responsible, was rejected by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.[5]


  1. ^ Statement issued by physician. (1981, April 1). New York Times (1857-Current file), p. A22. Retrieved October 19, 2007, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2004) database. (Document ID: 114189210).
  2. ^ The Reagans: Portrait of a Marriage, Anne Edwards, Macmillan, St. Martin's Press, 2003: "[page 214] . . . At 5:30 police officer Thomas Delehanty came out of surgery to remove a bullet that had gone through his neck and lodged not far from his spine . . . " Delehanty had been taken to Washington Hospital Center, whereas Reagan, Brady, and McCarthy had been taken to George Washington University Hospital (pages 209 to 214).
  3. ^ Washington Post, "25th Anniversary: Reagan's Brush With Death," "Reagan Wounded by Assailant's Bullet: Three Others Shot; President's Prognosis Excellent," David S. Broder, Tuesday, March 31, 1981, “[page 2 of 5] . . . Delahanty in the neck and shoulder . . . "
  4. ^ Washington Post, "25th Anniversary: Reagan's Brush With Death," "Feeling 'Great,' President Leaves the Hospital: Reagan Returns to the White House But Work Schedule Still Limited," Lee Lescaze, Saturday, April 11, 1981.
  5. ^ Delahanty v. Hinckley, 564 A.2d 758 (D.C.App. 1989), judgment hosted by Carnegie Mellon University here.