Secret Service audio from Reagan shooting released

U.S. President Ronald Reagan winces and raises his left arm as he was shot by an assailant as he left a Washington hotel, Monday, March 30, 1981, after making a speech to a labor group. The President was shot in the upper left side. ( (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds))

March 11, 2011 10:33:17 AM PST
''Shots fired! Shots fired!'' Those are the words shouted by a Secret Service agent and heard publicly for the first time Friday, 30 years to the month after the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan.

The United States Secret Service released audio recordings of agents' radio transmissions from March 30, 1981, as President Reagan left a speaking engagement at a Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C. Reagan gave a quick wave to a small crowd gathered near a side exit of the hotel just before John Hinckley fired six shots. The radio traffic indicates early confusion about whether any of the bullets reached Reagan. "Back to the White House... Rawhide is OK," said one agent using the Reagan's Secret Service-issued code name. Moments later a radio call asks agents with Reagan for an update on the president's condition. "Tell the staff Rawhide is alright," is the response.

Seconds later, agents in the limousine realize Reagan had been hit and radio their command post with the simple declaration: "We want to go to the emergency room at George Washington." Less than five seconds later someone is heard saying "[go] to George Washington fast!"

Read the Transcript (PDF) | Listen to the Audio Recordings

Current Orland Park Police Chief Tim McCarthy was on the President's security detail that day and is credited with stepping into the line of fire. He was shot in the abdomen by one of Hinckley's .22 caliber bullets.

Hear the audio and read Secret Service reports of the attempted assassination: