Tim McCarthy

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Timothy J. McCarthy
Born(1949-06-20) June 20, 1949 (age 63)
OccupationSecret Service agent
Chief of police
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Timothy J. McCarthy
Born(1949-06-20) June 20, 1949 (age 63)
OccupationSecret Service agent
Chief of police
McCarthy (far right) moments before the attempted assassination of Reagan (waving)

Timothy J. McCarthy (born June 20, 1949) is the current police chief of Orland Park, Illinois, and a former member of the United States Secret Service.[1] He is most famous for turning into the line of fire, shielding President Ronald Reagan and being wounded by one of John Hinckley, Jr.'s .22 caliber bullets in the 1981 Reagan assassination attempt.[2][3][dead link] Surgeons at George Washington University Hospital successfully removed the round from McCarthy's abdomen, and he fully recovered. McCarthy received the NCAA Award of Valor in 1982[4] in recognition of his bravery.


Early life

McCarthy was raised in the Ashburn neighborhood of Chicago. He graduated from St. Denis Grammar School and Leo Catholic High School and then attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and was a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity. He graduated in 1971 with a Bachelor of Science degree in finance and joined the United States Secret Service shortly thereafter.

Law enforcement career

His career included eight years assigned to the Presidential Protective Division in Washington D.C. and fourteen years as a criminal investigator in Chicago. McCarthy was the Special Agent in Charge of the Secret Service Chicago Division from 1989 until his retirement in October 1993.

Reagan assassination attempt

After Hinckley began to fire, McCarthy deliberately put himself in the line of fire and spread his body in front of Reagan to make himself a target.[3][dead link] Although all Secret Service agents are trained to take a bullet for the President, only four have actually done so. Besides McCarthy, officer Leslie Coffelt of the White House Police Force was killed and officers Donald Birdzell and Joseph Downs were wounded in the 1950 Truman assassination attempt.

Post-Secret Service career

McCarthy has served as Chief of the Orland Park Police Department since May 1994, and, in 1997, he unsuccessfully ran for Illinois Secretary of State as a Democrat.[5]

Private life

He is married and has three children.

In 1999, he earned a Master of Science degree in criminal/social justice from Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois.

McCarthy also played football at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


  1. ^ "Chief of Police". Village of Orland Park. http://www.orland-park.il.us/index.aspx?nid=141. Retrieved 28 December 2010. 
  2. ^ "Has anyone ever been shot while guarding the President?". United States Secret Service. http://www.secretservice.gov/kids_faq.shtml. Retrieved 28 December 2010. 
  3. ^ a b "March 30, 1981" Reagan's reflections on the assassination attempt, Ronaldreagan.com. Retrieved March 5, 2007.
  4. ^ "NCAA Award of Valor Recipients". National Collegiate Athletic Association. http://www.ncaa.org/wps/portal/ncaahome?WCM_GLOBAL_CONTEXT=/ncaa/NCAA/Media+and+Events/Awards/Honors+Program/Valor/winners.html. Retrieved 28 December 2010. 
  5. ^ "An American Hero". UMKC School of Law. http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/hinckley/mccarthy.htm. Retrieved 28 December 2010. 

External links