Tim McCarthy

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For the Irish sailor and explorer, see Timothy McCarthy (sailor).
Tim McCarthy
Tim McCarthy biopic.png
Born Timothy J. McCarthy
(1949-06-20) June 20, 1949 (age 66)
Occupation Secret Service agent
Chief of police
Children 3

Timothy J. McCarthy (born June 20, 1949) is the current police chief of Orland Park, Illinois, and a former member of the United States Secret Service.[1] During the 1981 Reagan assassination attempt, he turned into the line of fire, shielding Ronald Reagan from one of John Hinckley, Jr.'s .22 caliber bullets.[2][3][dead link] Surgeons at George Washington University Hospital successfully removed the round from McCarthy's abdomen, and he fully recovered. McCarthy is one of only four Secret Service agents to have taken a bullet for the President.[citation needed] He received the NCAA Award of Valor in 1982[4] in recognition of his bravery.

Early life[edit]

McCarthy was raised in the Ashburn neighborhood of Chicago. He graduated from St. Denis Grammar School and Leo Catholic High School and then attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. While there, he was a member of the football team and the Delta Tau Delta fraternity. He graduated in 1971 with a Bachelor of Science degree in finance and joined the United States Secret Service shortly thereafter.

Law enforcement career[edit]

His career included eight years assigned to the Presidential Protective Division in Washington D.C. and fourteen years as a criminal investigator in Chicago. McCarthy was the Special Agent in Charge of the Secret Service Chicago Division from 1989 until his retirement in October 1993.

Reagan assassination attempt[edit]

McCarthy (far right) moments before the attempted assassination of Reagan (waving). Left, in white trenchcoat, Jerry Parr, who pushed the President, body-sheltered by McCarthy, into the car.

After Hinckley began to fire, McCarthy deliberately put himself in the line of fire and spread his body in front of Reagan to make himself a target.[3] Although all Secret Service agents are trained to take a bullet for the President, only four have actually done so. Besides McCarthy, officer Leslie Coffelt of the White House Police Force was killed and officers Donald Birdzell and Joseph Downs were wounded in the 1950 Truman assassination attempt.

Post-Secret Service career[edit]

McCarthy has served as Chief of the Orland Park Police Department since May 1994, and, in 1997, he unsuccessfully ran for Illinois Secretary of State as a Democrat.[5]

Private life[edit]

He is married and has three children.[6]

In 1999, he earned a Master of Science degree in criminal/social justice from Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois.[7]


  1. ^ "Chief of Police". Village of Orland Park. Retrieved 28 December 2010. 
  2. ^ "Has anyone ever been shot while guarding the President?". United States Secret Service. Retrieved 28 December 2010. 
  3. ^ a b "March 30, 1981" Reagan's reflections on the assassination attempt, Ronaldreagan.com. Retrieved March 5, 2007. Archived December 27, 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "NCAA Award of Valor Recipients". National Collegiate Athletic Association. Retrieved 28 December 2010. 
  5. ^ "An American Hero". UMKC School of Law. Retrieved 28 December 2010. 
  6. ^ "Chief of Police". Village of Orland Park. Retrieved 28 December 2010. 
  7. ^ "Chief of Police". Village of Orland Park. Retrieved 28 December 2010. 

External links[edit]