The death of James Brady, who served as press secretary for Ronald Reagan and died earlier this week at the age of 73, was ruled a homicide, 33 years after he was wounded during an attempt on Reagan’s life.
The District of Columbia medical examiner issued the ruling Friday, according to NBC Washington.
According to the station, the determination opens up the possibility of murder charges against John Hinckley Jr., the man who shot Brady, Reagan and two others outside of the Washington Hilton Hotel on March 30, 1981.
Brady suffered a gun shot wound to the head and was partially paralyzed. Reagan was wounded by a ricocheted bullet which struck him in the chest.
Hinckley Jr. was found not guilty by reason of insanity for the attempted assassination and is currently in a mental hospital outside of Washington.
Brady, who died Monday following what a spokesman said was “a series of health issues,” suffered slurred speech and was mostly relegated to a wheelchair after the shooting. He also became a staunch advocate for gun control.
A request for comment to the Washington, D.C. police department was not immediately returned.
Update: The Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department issued a statement which reads, in part, “On Monday, August 4, 2014, at approximately 10:40 am, at his residence in Alexandria, Virginia, Mr. James Brady succumbed to his injuries sustained in the 1981 shooting and was pronounced dead.”
“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,” according to the statement, which noted that Brady’s death marks the 71st homicide of the year in the city.
“Members of Metropolitan Police Department’s Homicide Branch, the United States Attorney’s Office, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are reviewing this case,” the statement reads.