Jerry Parr

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Jerry Parr
Jerry Parr.jpg
Jerry Parr just before President Reagan was shot.
Born (1930-09-16) September 16, 1930 (age 84)
Montgomery, Alabama
Education Vanderbilt University
Loyola University
Occupation Retired Secret Service Agent
Employer United States Secret Service
Known for Saving President Reagan during his assassination attempt.

Jerry S. Parr (born September 16, 1930) is a retired Secret Service Agent. He was one of the agents protecting President Reagan on the day of his assassination attempt on March 30, 1981.[1][2]


Parr received his B.A. in English and Philosophy from Vanderbilt University in 1962. In 1987, he received his M.S. in pastoral counseling from Loyola University in Maryland. Parr is also an ordained minister. In 1987, he received an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters from Eureka College.

Career with the Secret Service[edit]

Parr's interest in joining the Secret Service originated as a boy after watching Code of the Secret Service (1939) starring Ronald Reagan as agent "Brass" Bancroft.[3]:18 After joining the service, from 1962 to 1968, Parr conducted 15 foreign and in 65 domestic protective surveys for various Presidents and Vice Presidents, and worked with security, intelligence and law enforcement professionals in all 50 states and in 37 countries.[2] From 1969 to 1978, he worked for the Foreign Dignitary Division as a mid-level supervisor on Humphrey, Agnew and Ford details. As Deputy Special Agent in Charge, Foreign Dignitary Division, he directed security for 56 foreign heads of state.[1] From 1978-1979, he was Special Agent in Charge of the Vice Presidential Protective Division, where he directed security for Vice President Mondale. In 1979, Parr moved to the Presidential Protective Division, where he was Special Agent in Charge and Head of White House Detail. There, he directed security for Presidents Carter and Reagan. In 1982, he became Assistant Director of Protective Research, and in 1985, Parr retired from the Secret Service. Parr carried a 3"-barreled Smith & Wesson Model 19 chambered in .357 Magnum. This was confirmed in the book "Rawhide Down" and is seen in the hands of Agent Danny Spriggs and other agents in archival footage of the attempt. This was one of the standard-issue sidearms of the U.S.S.S. in 1981, the other being the Smith & Wesson Model 66-2. Parr's story is told in his autobiography, In the Secret Service: The True Story Of The Man who Saved President Reagan (Tyndale House Publishing), co-authored by his wife Carolyn Parr.

Assassination attempt[edit]

US President Ronald Reagan waves just before he is shot outside a Washington hotel on March 30, 1981. From left are secret service agent Jerry Parr, in raincoat, who pushed Reagan into the limousine; press secretary James Brady, who was seriously wounded; Reagan; Michael Deaver, Reagan's aide; unidentified policeman; Washington policeman Thomas K. Delahanty, who was shot; and secret service agent Timothy J. McCarthy, who was shot in the stomach.

On March 30, 1981, John Hinckley, Jr. opened fire on newly elected President Reagan as Reagan exited the Washington Hilton Hotel after giving a speech. Upon hearing gunshots, Parr pushed Reagan into the President's limousine, which started heading to the White House. Parr noticed that Reagan was bleeding and ordered the limousine to go to the hospital.

Community service[edit]

Parr came to believe that God had directed his life to save Reagan, and became a pastor after leaving the Secret Service.[3]:224 Currently, Parr is very active in his church in Washington, D.C., where he is a former co-pastor, retreat leader and spiritual director. He has served on the Board of Directors at Joseph's House, an organization for men with AIDS. Parr also co-founded Servant Leadership School.

Awards and honors[edit]

Professional organizations[edit]

Parr is a member of the Association for Conflict Resolution and American Association of Pastoral Counsellors. Previously, he was the president of the Association of Former Agents of the U.S. Secret Service.


Jerry Parr was a film advisor for the movies In the Line of Fire and Contact, and for the documentaries In the Line of Fire: Behind the Scenes with the Secret Service (1993), and Inside the US Secret Service (2004).

He has also been a commentator on:


  1. ^ a b "At The Edge Of Death". Newsweek. October 4, 1999. Retrieved 2008-08-13. 
  2. ^ a b Sue Anne Pressley (March 30, 2006). "When History, Destiny Converged". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-08-13. 
  3. ^ a b Wilber, Del Quentin (2011). Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronad Reagan. Macmillan. ISBN 0-8050-9346-X. 
  4. ^ "Investigating the President: Should Secret Service Agents Have to Testify?". Larry King Live. CNN. July 14, 1998. Retrieved 2008-08-14. 

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