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Reagan aide Brady's death a homicide: police

File photo taken on March 30, 2011 shows former presidential spokesman James Brady visiting the Brady Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, DC
Former White House press secretary James Brady gives the thumbs-up while visiting the Brady Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, DC on March 30, 2011

A gunshot wound three decades old killed former presidential spokesman James Brady, police in the US capital said, ruling the death a homicide.

Brady, who died Monday at age 73, was shot in the head in 1981 during a failed assassination attempt against then president Ronald Reagan.

The shooting left him wheelchair-bound and with brain damage.

After his death, "an autopsy was conducted and revealed the cause of death to be a gunshot wound and consequences thereof, and the manner of death was ruled a homicide," said a statement from the Metropolitan Police of Washington on Friday.

The police, the United States Attorney's Office and the FBI are reviewing the case, the statement said, which could theoretically lead to new charges against the shooter, John Hinckley.

The failed assassination also wounded three others, including Reagan.

The former White House press secretary, whose injuries forced him to leave that post, spent the rest of his life working for gun control, through his Brady Campaign advocacy group he founded with his wife Sarah.

The shooter, John Hinckley, who was charged with attempted assassination of the president and other crimes, was found not guilty by reason of insanity and committed to a residential psychiatric facility in Washington.

Now 59, Hinckley is permitted to leave the mental hospital to pay regular visits to his mother's home in Virginia.