Reporting John Brooks
SIMI VALLEY (CBS) — A foundation representing Ronald Reagan said Tuesday it would pursue all legal avenues in order to halt an online auction of a vial that once held the former president’s blood.
KNX 1070′s John Brooks reports the vial allegedly contains a dried blood sample taken at the time of the assassination attempt on the president in 1981.
Online auction house PFCAuctions.com in England said the vial came from a lab in Maryland and was taken with permission by a woman in March of 1981 following tests after the attempted assassination by John Hinckley, Jr. in Washington, D.C.
The most current bidding price on Tuesday afternoon was up to £9,181, or approximately $14,483 for the vial. The auction is scheduled to conclude on Thursday.
John Heubusch, executive director of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, said the auction is a violation of privacy and the foundation will use any legal means to stop any sale or purchase.
“It’s the personal property of President Ronald Reagan,” said Heubusch. “For someone to be out there trying to make a buck off it is frankly sickening and we’re going to do everything in our power to stop it.”
Tourists visiting the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley said the idea of selling a former president’s blood is downright creepy.
“He’s put to rest, let it go,” said one woman.
In a statement on the auction house’s website, the seller said he tried to interest the Reagan library in purchasing the vial from him but did not succeed. He said the lab director told his mother she could take it.
The auction house website says the seller claimed he was a supporter of Reagan’s conservative economic policies and believes the late president would have wanted him to sell the vial rather than donate it.
Reagan required emergency surgery after he was shot by Hinckley outside the Washington Hilton Hotel shortly after speaking to labor union officials on March 30, 1981. Hinckley fired six shots at the president from close range. All six missed, but one bullet ricocheted and hit Reagan.
The president was wounded barely two months after taking office. He suffered a punctured lung and severe internal bleeding that required life-saving surgery.
His popular press secretary, James Brady, was left paralyzed after being shot. Two people protecting Reagan were also wounded.
Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity. He remains in a psychiatric facility in the Washington area but has been allowed to spend some time with his family.
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