Guards 'didn't know Ronald Reagan was shot'

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A NEWLY released Secret Service audiotape from the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan in 1981 sheds light on a chaotic aftermath when agents had not realised the president had been shot and were taking him to the White House rather than hospital.

In the ten-minute tape from March 30, 1981, agents at the scene are heard telling the Secret Service command post that shots were fired and people were injured but "Rawhide's all right" and was being rushed back to the security of the White House. Rawhide was Reagan's Secret Service code name. Suddenly, one agent reports that the president's limousine is changing course to George Washington University Hospital and another agent says, "Let's hustle."

The Secret Service released the tape yesterday.