A 66-year-old man targeted Republican leaders and staff during a congressional baseball practice Wednesday morning. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) was shot by the assailant who previously expressed an intention to harm conservative politicians.
Two police officers and three congressional staff members were among the wounded, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky said on CNN.
Just before noon, President Trump confirmed that the suspect of the shooting, James Hodgkinson, died from the gunshot wounds he sustained from police.
Tim Slater, the FBI special agent in charge of the investigation, has not offered a motive for the attack; however, many are attributing the attack as an assault on conservative ideology. A witness reported that a man asked prior to the attack if the people on the field were Democrats or Republicans. It is unconfirmed if this man was the shooter or not.
Rep. Scalise’s office said that the congressman is in stable condition at MedStar Washington Hospital near Howard University. Scalise was shot in the hip and is undergoing surgery, the statement said.
“He is grateful for the brave actions of U.S. Capitol Police, first responders, and colleagues,” said the statement.
Rand Paul attributes Scalise’s presence as a deciding factor in saving the lives of congressman and staffers. Scalise’s role as congressional Majority Whip means that he was being escorted by Capitol Police. Without the presence of these officers, this shooting would have been a “massacre” according to Senator Paul.
Details are still emerging about the shooter, and what could have led to this act of domestic terrorism.
UPDATE (1:30 PM): The now-deceased suspect in the congressional baseball attack was a fervent critic of President Trump. According to a review of his social media, the 66-year-old from Illinois published a stream of anti-Trump and anti-Republican posts on both his Facebook and Twitter accounts. He was a member of far-left Facebook groups such as “Terminate the Republican Party,” and “The Road to Hell is Paved with Republicans.”
Hodgkinson, a strong Bernie Sanders supporter, wrote several letters to the editor of The Belleville News-Democrat, which criticized conservative policies and politicians. In several letters he accused President Bush and Vice President Cheney of “war-profiteering” and called them “traitors,” a term he also used to describe President Trump.