WASHINGTON—The death of James Brady has been ruled a homicide resulting from John Hinckley Jr.'s attempted 1981 assassination of President Ronald Reagan, the Virginia Medical Examiner ruled Friday.

As a result, D.C. Metropolitan Police are investigating the death of the former White House press secretary and gun control icon. Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity for the shooting that left Brady partially paralyzed.

Brady died Tuesday at age 73.

emptied his six-shot .22-caliber revolver in March 1981.

Hinckley, 59, has been confined to St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington and has received psychiatric treatment since his acquittal in 1982. Since 1999, he has been allowed outside the facility, with his unsupervised visits to his mother's home in Williamsburg, Va., gradually expanded to 17 days.

A spokesperson for Brady's family could not immediately be reached for comment.

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, the advocacy group that bears the name of the former press secretary and his wife, Sarah, declined to comment.

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