Published: Fri, June 23, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Congressional Baseball Practice Shooter Acted Alone, No Ties to Terror Organization

Congressional Baseball Practice Shooter Acted Alone, No Ties to Terror Organization

He fired 60 shots during the attack, striking House Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise, a congressional staffer, a lobbyist and a Capitol Police officer before being shot and killed himself. But they said they had not yet clarified who, if anyone, he planned to target, or why, beyond his animus toward President Donald Trump and the Republicans he felt were ruining the country.

James T Hodgkinson did not have any ties to terrorism, said Tim Slater, the special agent in charge of the Washington FBI office. The FBI did not say what the response from the family member was.

An FBI news release said Hodgkinson took multiple photographs of Eugene Simpson Stadium Park, the scene of the shooting, in mid-April.

Adrift and struggling to cope with an array of personal problems, James Hodgkinson was running out of money and told a family member that he wanted to return to IL.

Before he left IL in March, police had been called to his home for complaints he was conducting target practice on his property, Slater said. He had defended the shooting at his home as "target practice". Hodgkinson's arrest in 1992 by Illinois State Police for suspicion of resisting and obstructing a peace officer also was dismissed. A review of his electronic communications also showed contact with the offices of Democratic Illinois Sens. He said nothing while injured in custody before dying, Slater said. Sanders has previously stated that the shooter apparently volunteered on his presidential campaign.

A photo of James T. Hodgkinson from his Facebook profile. The FBI is still going through Hodgkinson's phone records and email accounts.

"I would not classify that as a hit list", Slater said.

After the shooting, investigators searched Hodgkinson's home in IL and a storage facility in Alexandria he began renting in April. He had become somewhat of a fixture at the YMCA, carrying a laptop and a gym bag. Hodgkinson then remained at the baseball field. Hodgkinson never said anything during the shooting or after, before he died. Others described him as odd or a "sourpuss". Investigators cannot determine if Hodgkinson, 66, specifically targeted U.S. House members but uncovered a great deal of anti-Republican views from his social media pages.

A Wednesday FBI press release confirmed much of what has already been reported.

Law enforcement officials declined to make public the names or political party affiliations of the six members of Congress included in the list found on Hodgkinson. The rifle had been modified, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said.

Investigators also found that Hodgkinson had visited his unit at a storage facility more than 43 times from April to June. The shooting occurred shortly after 7 a.m., police have said.

When the unit was searched, authorities found components for the SKS rifle, a receipt for a November 2016 gun purchase and 200 rounds of ammunition. Officials said they also searched the van he had been living out of in the parking lot of the YMCA and found indications that he meant to go home on his computer.

On June 12, Hodgkinson sent a message to a family member in IL saying he would be returning home.

The group of lawmakers and staffers were practicing for a charity game against a team of Democrats that was played the next day and raised over $1 million. Scalise struck in the hip, resulting in severe damage to blood vessels and internal organs.

Scalise remains in the hospital and is in serious condition. The hospital issued a statement on Wednesday saying Rep. Steve Scalise, 51, of Louisiana is "beginning an extended period of healing and rehabilitation". All five people who were shot survived their injuries.

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