FOR RSS

Here’s what we know — and don’t know — about the GOP baseball practice shooting

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, along with a lobbyist, a congressional staffer, and several Capitol Hill police agents, where injured when a gunman opened fire Wednesday morning during a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia. (PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and multiple Capitol Hill police officers were shot by a rifle-wielding attacker early Wednesday morning during a Republican congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Va.

According to a statement from police, they were on the scene three minutes after receiving the first 911 call.

This is what we know so far:

Here’s who was hurt

Rep. Steve Scalise, a congressional staffer, a lobbyist and two members of the congressional police force were shot during the Wednesday morning attack.

According to a statement from his office, Scalise was shot in the hip and was transported to MedStar Washington Hospital Center, where he is undergoing surgery. The whip’s staff said he “is in stable condition.”

In addition to David Bailey and Crystal Griner, the two Capitol Hill police officers injured in the attack, Zack Barth, a congressional staffer for Texas GOP Rep. Roger Williams, and Matt Mika, a lobbyist for Tyson Foods who sometimes joins lawmakers during baseball practices, were hurt.

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said Mika was the most seriously injured in the assault.

Here’s the response to the shooting

President Donald Trump condemned the “terrible shooting” in a national statement delivered shortly before noon Wednesday, describing Scalise as “a very good friend.”

“He’s a patriot, and he’s a fighter,” the president said of Scalise. “He will recover from this assault. And Steve, I want you to know that you have the prayers not only of the entire city behind you, but of an entire nation, and frankly, the entire world.”

“America is praying for you,” he continued, “and America is praying for all of the victims of this terrible shooting.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan joined in with the president during an address in the House chamber, saying: “We are being tested right now. I ask each of you to join me to resolve to come together. To lift each other up.” Ryan added that he is “awed by the tremendous bravery of the Capitol Police.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told her fellow lawmakers that she “identifies” with Ryan’s “beautiful remarks” and has been asking for updates about Scalise’s condition every couple minutes.

This is the shooter

The shooter was identified as 66-year-old James Hodgkinson of Illinois.

It is believed Hodgkinson, who died from injuries sustained at the scene of the shooting, was a supporter of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I) failed presidential campaign and is a vehement opponent of Trump.

According to social media information collected by political analyst Phil Kerpen, Hodgkinson identified himself as a climate change activist and expressed intense hatred for the president.

Sanders took the Senate floor Wednesday to condemn the shooting. He said he was “sickened” by the assault and condemned the shooter’s actions “in the strongest possible terms.”

“Let me be as clear as I can be,” Sanders said. “Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms. Real change can only come about through non-violent action, and anything else runs counter to our most deeply held American values.”

Hodgkinson is from Belleville, Ill., and was the owner of a home inspection business in his hometown, according to the Belleville News-Democrat. The shooter was known around Belleville for his progressive political leanings.

In 2012, Hodgkison participated in a protest outside a Belleville post office. He said at the time he was part of the “99 percent,” drawing attention to the money and political power owned by the top 1 percent of Americans. He often penned letters to the editor at his local newspaper, highlighting the need for higher taxes on the rich.

One St. Louis man, who told The Washington Post he met Hodgkinson “on the Bernie trail in Iowa, worked with him in the Quad Cities area” during the presidential campaign last year, described the attacker as a “quiet guy” who was “very mellow, very reserved.”

But his arrest record, compiled by the News-Democrat, seemed to contradict that depiction.

Hodgkinson had been previously arrested for issues such as failing to obtain electrical permits, damaging a motor vehicle, eluding police, and driving under the influence. In 2006, public records show he was arrested for assaulting his girlfriend. a 12-gauge shotgun was later found on the scene of the alleged crime, but the charges were later dismissed, NBC News reported.

Here’s what we don’t know:

The shooter’s motive

Law enforcement officials indicated they have not yet identified what may have motivated Hodgkinson to carry out the shooting Wednesday morning.

Shortly after the shooting took place, GOP Reps. Ron DeSantis (Fla.) and Jeff Duncan (S.C.) said a man police identified as Hodgkinson approached them before he opened fire to ask whether the people gathered for the baseball practice were Democrats or Republicans.

“It was just a little odd,” DeSantis told Fox News. “And then he kind of walked toward the area where all this happened, so we told the police that.”

The lawmaker said he did not see Hodgkinson carrying any weapons at the time, but noted that the shooting began just a few minutes later.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (R) said the shooting could have been much worse had Scalise’s security detail not been in the area. He said he “vaguely” saw the gunman roughly 75 yards away just prior to the shooting.

“I do believe that without the Capitol Hill police, it would have been a massacre,” he said. “We had no defense at all.”

How the shooter found the practice

It was also not immediately clear why Hodgkinson, an Illinois native, decided to open fire at Wednesday’s Republican baseball practice in Virginia.

Law enforcement officers have not yet determined if the attack was premeditated or if Hodgkinson scoped out the location prior to carrying out the attack.

 

One last thing…
Watch TheBlaze live and on demand on any device, anywhere, anytime.
try premium
Exclusive video
All Videos
Watch BlazeTV on your favorite device, anytime, anywhere.
Try BlazeTV for Free
Sponsored content
Newsletter

Get the news that matters most delivered to your inbox.