SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — If you’re about 50 or older, you probably remember where you were when you learned President Ronald Reagan was shot in an assassination attempt 40 years ago on March 30, 1981.
Savannah cardiologist Dr. Randy Bottner definitely does.
Bottner was a 27-year-old fourth year medical student at George Washington University when he started his Emergency Room rotation that Monday. In the morning, a woman who came in with a broken wrist turned out to be one of the people who had been taken hostage from the American embassy in Iran and freed just two months earlier. It was the buzz of the ER and Bottner thought he’d have a good story to tell his fiancée, Sheree, who worked upstairs as a medical technician.
Then at 2:29 p.m., the phone rang. The charge nurse reached for it, recalled Bottner, who is now chief of cardiology at Memorial University Medical Center.
“She picks it up, and it keeps ringing,” he said on Monday, nearly 40 years after the historic day. “And she puts it down, and she pulls out a princess phone from behind some books on the counter. And she goes, ‘Oh, my God, it’s the White House.‘
“So we all stopped to look at her. And she picks up the phone. She turns bright red, she doesn’t say anything. She puts the phone back down. And she says ‘The President’s motorcade is coming. We’ve got three gunshot wounds.‘”
The president was Ronald Reagan.
Moments before Reagan had been exiting the Washington Hilton when would-be assassin John Hinckley pulled out a recently purchased Raum .22 long rifle and fired in rapid succession six “Devastator” bullets designed to explode on impact.
The first shot hit Press Secretary James Brady right above the temple.
“It exploded and took the fragments and part of his...