An anti-Trump, Republican-hating Bernie Sanders supporter with a history of domestic violence has been identified as the gunman who opened fire on Republican members of Congress Wednesday morning at a baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia.
He was shot by police at the scene and later died at a local hospital, President Donald Trump said. Four other people, including a congressman, were shot, but none were killed. Lawmakers have praised the actions of police in stopping the shooter, preventing a “massacre.”
James T. Hodgkinson, 66, was from Belleville, Illinois, Capitol Police said in a statement. A motive for the shooting is not yet known, but Hodgkinson’s Facebook page shows someone who had a high interest in politics, who supported Bernie Sanders during the presidential election and expressed anger with President Donald Trump and Republican Congressmen. Hodgkinson, who went by his middle name, Tom, had recently moved to Virginia after the presidential election, about a 14-hour drive from his home near St. Louis.
The gunman was shot by two Capitol Hill Police officers who were at the scene as a security detail for Rep. Steve Scalise, the House Majority Whip, who was among those shot. The two police officers, special agents David Bailey and Crystal Griner, were also wounded. Griner was shot in the ankle, while Bailey suffered a minor non-gunshot injury.
Two others were shot, Zack Barth, a staffer for Rep. Roger Williams of Texas and a former staffer turned lobbyist, Matt Mika.
Mika and Scalise remained in critical condition on Thursday. Scalise was shot once in the hip and has undergone surgery. He is expected to require further operations. Mika was shot multiple times, including in the arm and chest, and has also underwent surgery.
Another congressman, Roger Williams, suffered minor injuries, not a gunshot wound, while jumping into a dugout to protect others, and was taken to the hospital, authorities said.
Two Congressmen, Rep. Jeff Duncan and Rep. Ron DeSantis, described an encounter with a man who asked them if those practicing were “Republicans or Democrats” before the shooting. DeSantis, when shown a photo of Hodgkinson, confirmed he was the man who approached him, CNBC reports.
Alexandria Police Chief Michael Brown said his officers and Capitol Police officers exchanged fire with the gunman.
Sources told the CNN it was a “deliberate attack.”
The GOP baseball team was practicing at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria when the shooting occurred. The Republican team was preparing to play its annual game against Democratic congressmen at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. on Thursday. The shooting began about 7:09 a.m., with Alexandria Police responding about 7:12 a.m. The shootout with police started at 7:14 a.m., the FBI says.
This post will be updated as more information is made available. Here is what we know so far:
1. Hodgkinson, a Bernie Campaign Volunteer, Wrote on Facebook, ‘Trump Is a Traitor … It’s Time to Destroy Trump & Co.’
James Thomas Hodgkinson’s Facebook page features a banner image of Senator Bernie Sanders and a profile picture about Democratic Socialism. His profile picture says, “Democratic Socialism explained in 3 words: ‘We the People’ Since 1776.”
He was showed massive interest in politics and angered by President Trump’s victory, his brother, Michael, told the New York Times. Michael Hodgkinson told the newspaper his brother went to Washington D.C. “totally out of the blue,” to protest the Trump administration and Republicans, and he’s not sure why he stayed there.
He was a prolific Facebook user, with two pages, including several political posts, expressing anger in recent weeks with the Trump administration and over several years with Republican politicians. He also expressed support for Bernie Sanders and progressive politics, and hatred for Hillary Clinton.
On March 22 he wrote, “Trump is a Traitor. Trump Has Destroyed Our Democracy. It’s Time to Destroy Trump & Co.”
On a second Facebook page in his name, Hodgkinson wrote two days ago, “I Want to Say Mr. President, for being an ass hole you are Truly the Biggest Ass Hole We Have Ever Had in the Oval Office.”
On June 12, he wrote, “Make America Great Again, Resign!,” along with a meme of Trump with the words, “All in all it’s just another prick in the wall.” He also wrote, “Trump is Guilty & Should Go to Prison for Treason” and “Trump is a Mean, Disgusting Person.”
Hodgkinson, who also went by his middle name, Tom, was a Belleville, Illinois, native, according to his Facebook page. He was one of three siblings graduated from Belleville Township High School, where he was on the wrestling and track teams, in 1968, according to the Belleville News-Democrat.
He went on to study at Belleville Area College, now called Southwestern Illinois College, and then transferred to Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, according to his Facebook page. He studied aviation at Belleville Area College in 1969, before transferring in 1971 to Southwestern Illinois. The university told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Hodgkinson took just two classes at the school and did not complete a term.
He owned a company, JTH Inspections, also called JTH Construction, which he opened in 1976.
Hodgkinson was married to Suzanne Hodgkinson, according to KMOV-TV. He also has a daughter and grandchildren, according to his wife’s Facebook page. The couple raised several foster children, friends said.
His brother told the New York Times he had lived a “normal” life, but always showed an interest in politics. He has been critical of the Trump administration and called for Democrats to fight against it.
Hodgkinson campaigned for Sanders in Iowa while the Vermont lawmaker was running for the Democratic presidential nomination last year, the Washington Post reports.
Charles Orear, 50, of St. Louis, who worked alongside him, called Hodgkinson a passionate progressive who showed no signs of violence or malice toward others.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Orear told the newspaper. “I met him on the Bernie trail in Iowa, worked with him in the Quad Cities area.”
He said Hodgkinson was a “quiet guy,” “very mellow, very reserved,” who stayed with him at a fellow Sanders’s supporters home in Illinois.
“He was this union tradesman, pretty stocky, and we stayed up talking politics,” he told the Post. “He was more on the really progressive side of things.”
His childhood friend, Dale Walsh, told the News-Democrat that Hodgkinson was a “fun-loving guy” who was passionate about his views. He said Hodgkinson “never backed down” and “stood his ground” on his convictions, but didn’t know him to be an extremist. He said Hodgkinson “got in fights,” like “most guys do.”
Walsh said, “It took me by surprise to hear what happened. I want people to know he wasn’t evil.”
In August 2016, after Sanders had lost the Democratic nomination, he posted on Facebook, “I want Bernie to Win the White House,” along with a petition calling for Sanders to join the Green Party.
He was anti-Hillary Clinton, according to his Facebook posts.
“Bernie is a Progressive, while Hillary is Republican Lite,” he wrote.
In another post he wrote, “#ScreamAsOne #NeverVotingHill,” and “You’ve been warned DNC. I will NEVER vote Hillary. A nomination for Hillary equals a win for Trump. #NOTWithHer.”
He wrote, “Bernie is the Only Candidate in Decades that Really Cares about the Working Class. … Bernie is a Candidate of a Lifetime. We Need Bernie in the White House. Bernie is the Only Candidate Talking about the Issues.”
In a statement, Sanders said he is “sickened by this despicable act.” You can read the statement below:
“I have just been informed that the alleged shooter at the Republican baseball practice is someone who apparently volunteered on my presidential campaign. I am sickened by this despicable act. Let me be as clear as I can be. 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 nonviolent action and anything else runs against our most deeply held American values. My hopes and prayers are that Representative Scalise, congressional staff and the Capitol Police Officers who were wounded make a quick and full recovery. I also want to thank the Capitol Police for their heroic actions to prevent further harm.”
Just four days before the shooting, Sanders delivered an anti-Republican speech in Illinois. Heavy was there, and you can watch part of that below:
Sanders tweeted Wednesday, but tweeted, “Our prayers go out for a full recovery of Rep. Scalise, the congressional aides and police who were injured. We’ve got to stop the violence.”
Hodgkinson wrote several letters to the local newspaper, which you can see above and read here.
And he was interviewed by a local news station at an “Occupy” protest a few years ago:
Several local Democrats told the newspaper they did not know Hodgkinson.
2. He Has Posted About His Anger With Congressional Republicans Several Times on His Facebook Page & Shared an Anti-Scalise Cartoon
Hodgkinson contacted his Congressman, Rep. Mike Bost, a Republican, 14 times through phone calls and emails, the Washington Post reports.
“Every issue that we were working on, he was not in support of,” Bost said. The Congressman told the newspaper that his communications took a left-wing slant, but did not include threats, “only anger.”
Bost said he, “never crossed the line, but he was always angry.”
In addition to his contact with Bost and other political activity, including going to protests, he posted often about his hatred for Republicans on social media. He once called the GOP the “Taliban of America.”
He issued a statement about the shooting:
With reports indicating that Wednesday morning’s shooter is from my district, this is a tragedy that certainly hits close to home. As we continue to gather information, Tracy and I would like to send our prayers to my friend and colleague, Steve Scalise, as well as members of the security detail and congressional staff who were injured. We live in challenging times and the political rhetoric has been turned up to an alarming level. This should serve as a wake-up call for all of us to step back from the battle lines and come together to strengthen our nation.
On May 26, Hodgkinson shared a post from “Republicans Suck,” saying, “Republicans Hate Women, Minorities, Working Class People, & Most All (99%) of the People of the Country.”
He seemed angered by the GOP’s health care plane. He wrote on May 31, “Higher Costs & Less Coverage. Who Would Have Thought That the Republican Law Makers Don’t Give a Damn About the Working Class in this Country.” That same day he wrote, “Vote All Republicans Out of Office is the Start!”
On June 8, he wrote, “Founding Fathers Would Hate What Our Democracy Has Morphed Into. We Now Have an Aristocracy, a Corporatocracy, & an Oligarchy, & a Plutocracy. This Turns Our Country Into a Fascist State! Vote Blue, It’s Right for You!”
Hodgkinson wrote a post in October 2015 criticizing Republican members of Congress.
“Thieving Republican Congress Strikes Again!!!,” he wrote, while sharing a Matt Davies comic about Republicans.
He shared several cartoons in 2015, including one that was critical of Rep. Steve Scalise. He wrote, “Here’s a Republican that should Lose His Job, but they Gave Him a Raise.”
The cartoon shows Scalise speaking before a group of hooded KKK members, in reference to a 2014 incident when it was revealed he had spoken before a white supremacist group, with the caption, “When I spoke to a racist group in 2002 it was an innocent mistake. I had no idea who they were. I couldn’t see their faces.”
In June 2015 he wrote, “The Opposite of a Liberal Progressive is a Bigoted Racist that wants the Rich to get Richer at the expense of the 99%…..Republicans are so Stupid….”
He wrote in May 2015, “Congressional Republicans Hate Americans & Should All be Voted Out of Office……..”
Hodgkinson was also the member of Facebook groups titled, “Terminate the Republican Party” and “The Road to Hell Is Paved With Republicans.” Other groups include, “Boycott the Republican Party,” “Expose Republican Fraud,” Donald Trump is not my president,” and “Illinois Berners United to Resist Trump.”
He recently criticized Karen Handel, the Republican candidate for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District for not supporting a livable wage in a Facebook post on June 8:
He wrote, “Republican Bitch Wants People to Work for Slave Wages, when a Livable Wage is the Only Way to Go! Vote Blue, It’s Right for You!”
Handel, who is in a close race against Democrat Jon Ossoff, wrote in a statement, “I am aware that the suspect recently made vile comments about me on social media. It also appears that the suspect targeted members of congress specifically because he disagreed with their views. We should not allow our political differences to escalate to violent attacks. We must all refuse to allow the politics of our country to be defined in this way. Now more than ever, we must unite as a one nation under God. It is incumbent upon all of us to work together in a civil and productive way, even when we disagree.”
3. He Was Accused of Pulling Hair Out of His Daughter’s Head, Punching Another Woman in the Face & Shooting at a Man in 2006, but Charges Were Dropped
James T. Hodgkinson was charged with battery, and aiding damage to a vehicle in April 2006 in St. Clair County, Illinois, according to court records. The case involved an incident with his daughter, his daughter’s friend and the friend’s boyfriend, court documents obtained by TMZ show.
Police said Hodgkinson was trying to get his daughter to leave the 19-year-old female friend’s house, but things got physical when she refused to leave. He was accused of grabbing her hair and pulling her to the floor. Police said they found hair that had been ripped out of the girl’s head. The daughter tried to flee in a car and police said Hodgkinson reached in, turned off the car and cut her seat belt. He then punched the female friend in the face with a closed fist, police said.
When the friend’s boyfriend tried to intervene, police said Hodgkinson hit him with the wooden stock of a shotgun and then chased him, firing a shot that did not hit anyone.
Aimee Moreland, the daughter’s friend, told The Daily Beast the daughter, “told me a lot of stories that he was really awful to her. According to his foster daughter, he was always angry. She was really unhappy there. She had come over to get away from them.”
Moreland also told the news site, “Do I think he’s capable (of the shooting)? Definitely. It sounds really awful, but I’m not surprised. Every interaction I’ve had I’ve thought ‘that guy’s crazy.'”
She said during an initial court hearing after the incident, Hodgkinson had to be removed from court after outbursts. Moreland said she missed a court date and that possibly led to the charges being dismissed.
“Every time the judge would talk to me, he would have an outburst and start screaming,” Moreland said. “I tried to tell the court that this guy’s crazy, that this is a big deal, but they didn’t listen to me.”
According to Politico, his wife, Suzanne, was also charged with domestic battery. It is not known whey the charges were dropped. His attorney in that case, Lyndon Evanko, called his former client “an odd little guy,” and a “bit of a misanthrope,” in an interview with NBC News.
“He wasn’t unpleasant. But he wasn’t particularly somebody you would want to hang out with. I got the feeling that he butted heads with a lot of people,” Evanko said.
The judge in that case, Brian Babka, declined to comment to The Daily Beast about why the charges were dismissed.
Hodgkinson and his wife had several foster children, including one, Wanda Ashley Stock, who killed herself in 1996 at the age of 17 by dousing herself with gasoline and setting herself on fire inside a car, the Belleville News-Democrat reports. She had lived with the family for a few months, the newspaper reports.
According to the Belleville News-Democrat, his record also included charges for failing to obtain electrical permits, damaging a motor vehicle, resisting a police officer, eluding police, critical damage to property, driving under the influence and traffic offenses.
Most of those charges were violations or petty offenses. Other than the battery charge, the most serious he faced was in 1993, when he was charged with DUI, fleeing/attempt to elude police and resisting/obstructing a peace officer, class A & B misdemeanors. The case was dismissed after a period of supervision.
You can see his full criminal history in St. Clair County below:
According to the Washington Post, Hodgkinson was also involved in a 2006 incident in which he got into an argument with a neighbor. He “accidentally struck her dog while it was sleeping in the roadway,” police records show. He also made multiple complaints about his neighbors damaging his lawn by driving through it, according to the newspaper.
Ray Page, a retired electrical contractor from near Hodgkinson’s home, told Politico, “I’ve never known him to be a violent man. We never saw this one coming.” He said Hodgkinson and his wife raised several foster children over the years. “He’s been a very generous person in that respect.”
Police went to Hodgkinson’s Illinois home in March 2017 for a report of shots fired, NBC News reports. 911 callers reporting hearing 50 shots.
According to police, Hodgkinson was found with a weapon and a valid Illinois firearms license. The officers told Hodgkinson not to fire his weapon near his home because other residences were nearby. He was not arrested in that incident.
His neighbor, William Schaumleffel, who called police, told The Daily Beast, that Hodgkinson was firing in pine trees.
“I thought, my God, what is that guy shooting?” Schaumleffel said. Hodgkinson then fired across Schaumleffel’s field and he yelled to him to say there were houses in the direction and he should stop. Schaumleffel called the shooting “target practice.” He said almost everyone in his rural neighborhood owns guns, but no one starts firing randomly outside.
In an interview with The Daily Beast, the neighbor recalled, “I told my wife, hey, I’m gonna call the sheriff. He’s liable to turn the gun on us. … He was being very reckless that day.”
St. Clair County Sheriff Richard Watson, whose deputies responded to that call, told NBC News, “He was very cordial, very nice, very understanding. He had no reason to think he was doing anything illegal, immoral or anything.”
4. He Told His Wife He Moved to Virginia to Change Tax Laws After Their Marriage Ended
James Thomas Hodgkinson, 66, owned a home inspection business in his home state, the newspaper reports.
According to his Facebook page, Hodgkinson “left” that job in December 2016, though it is not clear if he shut down the company or what the circumstances surrounding that were.
He described his job as being a “home inspector, Mold Air/Quality Tester.”
He worked for the St. Clair County Intergovernmental Grants Department as a subcontractor, but was banned in 2013 for “unacceptable” and “inappropriate behavior,” the News-Democrat reports.
“He was barred from the St. Clair County Intergovernmental Grants Department offices in 2003 due to unacceptable behavior in the office,” St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern said in a statement. “Later, in 2012 he requested paperwork to be reinstated, but never returned that paperwork or made contact with our office to the best of our knowledge.”
According to the Belleville News-Democrat, Hodgkinson was a licensed home inspector from 1994 to 1997, when it expired. He held the same license again from 2003 to 2016, when it was not renewed.
His wife, Sue Hodgkinson, told ABC News that he had been living in Alexandria, Virginia, for about two months.
A day after the shooting, his wife told reporters their marriage had essentially come to an end before he made the move. His daughter and 2-year-old grandson had recently moved into the house and he suddenly took his belongings and left, Sue Hodgkinson told reporters. They hadn’t been together since March.
She said he went to the D.C. area to lobby and protest to change tax laws, a topic he had often posted on social media about.
“Horrible, horrible” she said when asked how she feels. “I can’t believe he did this. I didn’t really know a lot about what he had been doing from January to March when he left. He said Washington, D.C. He wanted to work on taxes. He really didn’t say much. … I had no idea this was going to happen, and I don’t know what to say about it. I can’t wrap my head around it. He wanted to go up there and work with people to change the tax brackets.”
The couple had been married for about 30 years, she said. Her husband “made preparations for leaving,” and “sold almost everything he owned from his businesses.”
She spoke to reporters for about seven minutes before saying she “had enough,” and ending the impromptu press conference. She agreed to come out and talk to the media in an effort to get reporters to leave the edge of her property.
An Alexandria resident and attorney, Stephen Brennwald, told the Washington Post he had seen Hodgkinson hanging out often over the past several weeks in the lobby of the YMCA near the baseball field where the shooting occurred. He would come to the YMCA first thing in the morning, take out his laptop or stare out of the window, the Post reports.
“He never worked out. He never talked to anybody. He never did anything,” Brennwald told the newspaper. “He’d just sit there and stare at his laptop. It didn’t seem right, but I figured maybe he’s a law enforcement guy monitoring something. He had this kind of faraway stare.”
Former Alexandria mayor Bill Eurille, a Democrat, told the Washington Post it appeared Hodgkinson was living at the YMCA out of a gym bag. He said they had almost daily conversations and Eurille had tried to get him a job, but Hodgkinson rejected some of the former mayor’s ideas because he didn’t have a bachelor’s degree. They often talked about restaurants and politics.
According to the Daily Mail, Hodgkinson also used a P.O. box in Alexandria and frequented a barbecue restaurant, Pork Barrel BBQ. Bartenders there said he came in and had a few drinks, Budweisers, alone, watching sports or staring out as if day-dreaming.
“He definitely creeped out all our female bartenders,” Jamie Craig, a bartender at the restaurant, told the Daily Mail. :I tried to shy away from him… just a feeling, he gave me a weird, odd vibe. He would always have one or two and leave. He did seem to be staring a lot out the windows.”
He didn’t talk politics there, she said.
Eurille, the former Alexandria mayor, told the Daily Mail that the YMCA manager said Hodgkinson showered there about 7 a.m., not long before the shooting.
Michael Hodgkinson, his brother, told the New York Times he had been distraught about the election.
“I know he wasn’t happy with the way things were going, the election results and stuff,” Michael Hodgkinson told the Times. He said that his brother was engaged in politics, but lived a normal life.
Michael Hodgkinson told the Times he had spoken to his brother’s wife on Tuesday, and she told him that James was planning on returning home soon, because he missed her and their dogs.
Sue Hodgkinson said her husband was thinking about coming home because he was “out of money.”
A neighbor in Belleville, Aaron Meurer, told the News-Democrat, he had noticed Hodgkinson hadn’t been around in recent months. Suzanne Hodgkinson told him her husband was travelling.
“She said that he went on a trip. She wasn’t real specificm” said Meurer. “He’s been gone for the last two months, so I haven’t seen him around too often.”
Meurer told the newspaper, “I knew he was a Democrat, a pretty hardcore one. I know he wasn’t happy when Trump got elected but he seemed like a nice enough guy.He seemed like he was semi-retired; he was home a lot. He used to garden a couple of years ago. I didn’t really talk to him too much. He was a Democrat and I was a Republican so we didn’t have too much to talk about.”
5. The Shooter, Armed With a Rifle, Began Firing From Behind Third Base as Congressmen Were on the Field Practicing
James Hodgkinson was armed with a rifle, when he opened fire at the Alexandria baseball field, witnesses say.
The FBI said they believe Hodgkinson had been in Alexandria since March, and are asking for anyone who had contact with him to come forward. They put out a “seeking information” poster to request information:
They believe he had been living out of his vehicle, a white cargo van, which he drove from Illinois to Virginia. The FBI said they think he acted alone, but are still investigating. No one else is in custody.
“I have no indication why today or why this place,” Special Agent-in-Charge Tim Slater said, adding that the motive will be determined through the investigation.
“The FBI is actively investigating Hodgkinson, to include his associates, whereabouts, social media impressions, and potential motivations. This is an active investigation that continues to unfold. The ATF is running a trace on two weapons, to include a rifle and a handgun,” the FBI said in a press release. “The scene remains an active investigation, where law enforcement, to include the FBI Evidence Response Team, ATF, and Alexandria Police Department, are collecting evidence. In addition, the FBI Springfield and St. Louis Evidence Response Teams are searching the subject’s home in Belleville, Illinois. Individuals who have information regarding Hodgkinson should call the FBI 24-hour access line at 1-800-CALL-FBI and select option 1.”
A handgun was also recovered at the scene. A video captured the moments that gunshots rang out:
You can also listen to police radio audio from the scene:
Other videos show the aftermath:
Lawmakers described a chaotic scene. Rep. Mo Brooks told CNN the shooter was near third base when the gunfire began. He said he heard a loud bam, and there were dozens of shots, possibly hundreds, by the end of the incident, which witnesses say lasted 10 to 15 minutes.
“I see a rifle, and I see a little bit of a body and then I hear another bam and I realize there’s still an active shooter. At the same time I hear Steve Scalise over at 2nd base scream — he was shot,” Brooks told CNN.
Senator Jeff Flake, of Arizona, told reporters Scalise dragged himself about 15 yards away from second base into right field after he was shot.
“He was laying motionless out there, but we couldn’t get to him until the shooting had stopped,” Flake said.
A staffer for Rep. Roger Williams was then also shot, in the leg, Flake said.
Officers from the Capitol Police were the first to exchange gunfire with the shooter. Katie Fillus, of Alexandria, told the Washington Post she saw an officer draw her gun on the gunman:
Fillus said a police agent pulled out a gun and tried to shoot back. She was screaming, “ ‘Drop your weapon!’ And he shot her and she fell on the ground.
“She fell on the ground in front of us, and we were all just trying to lay as flat we could. And I belly crawled, dragging through the mud. I got to the car and I ducked under the car and I laid as close as I could under the car to hide from the person. Then the police seemed to come.”
Congressmen at the scene are crediting the two Capitol Police officers, Special Agent David Bailey and Special Agent Krystal Griner, who were there as the detail for Scalise, who is the House Majority Whip and has 24-hour protection because he is part of the Republican leadership.
“We were like sitting ducks,” Senator Rand Paul, of Kentucky, told Fox News. “Without the Capitol Hill police it would have been a massacre.”
Paul told CNN, “When you have no way to defend yourself … the field was essentially a killing field.
“I can tell you that I think with absolute certainty that nobody would have survived without the Capitol Hill Police They saved everybody’s life. Incredibly brave and deserve everyone’s praise, because with this guy, who knows how heavily armed he was, but nobody else had a weapon,” Paul said.
“We had nothing but baseball bats to fight back against a rifle with,” Rep. Mo Brooks told CNN. ” And I tell you, those two security details, those two Capitol police officers, they showed incredible bravery — pistols against a rifle — from a 90- to 120-feet distance. As you know, that kind of distance heavily favors the rifle. ”
Alexandria Police responded in about 3 minutes, Police Chief Michael Brown told reporters. The city officers joined the Capitol Police in trying to take down the gunman.
“Two of our officers engaged in gunfire and returned fire,” Brown said.
The Capitol Police officers wounded in the shooting are expected to survive.
Rep. Steve Scalise was taken from the scene in a helicopter, while other victims were rushed to hospitals by ambulance.
Scalise’s office said in a statement that the Congressman was undergoing surgery Wednesday morning at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. The statement said Scalise spoke to his wife, Jennifer, on the phone, and was in “good spirits” prior to entering surgery.
“We ask that you keep the Whip and others harmed in this incident in your thoughts and prayers,” the statement said.
FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Tim Slater said it is an “active investigation,” but the community where the shooting occurred is secure. Slater said the FBI has taken the lead because the shooting involves members of Congress.
The Alexandria Police Department, Virginia state agencies and other federal law enforcement, including ATF and the Capitol Police, are involved in the investigation, Slater said.
“The suspect is in custody and not a threat,” police said on Twitter. A heavy police presence was at the scene, which is in the 400 block of East Monroe Street.
Police have not released any information about the shooter’s motive.
Investigators were planning to obtain search warrants for a van that was at the scene of the shooting and for Hodgkinson’s Illinois home.
President Donald Trump issued a televised statement to the country, which you can read below:
As you all know, shortly after 7:00 a.m. this morning, a gunman opened fire on members of Congress and their staffs as they were practicing for tomorrow’s annual charity baseball game.
Authorities are continuing to investigate the crime, and the assailant has now died from his injuries. The FBI is leading the investigation and will continue to provide updates as new information becomes available.
Congressman Steve Scalise, a member of House leadership, was shot and badly wounded, and is now in critical condition at the hospital, along with two very courageous Capitol Police officers.
Many lives would have been lost if not for the heroic actions of the two Capitol Police officers who took down the gunman despite sustaining gunshot wounds during a very, very brutal assault.
Melania and I are grateful for their heroism and praying for the swift recovery of all victims.
Congressman Scalise is a friend, and a very good friend. He’s a patriot and he’s a fighter. 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 and America is praying for all of the victims of this terrible shooting.
I spoke with Steve’s wife, Jennifer, and I pledged to her our full and absolute support — anything she needs. We are with her and with the entire Scalise family.
I have also spoken with Chief Matthew Verderosa — he’s doing a fantastic job — of the Capitol Police to express our sympathies for his wounded officers and to express my admiration for their courage. Our brave Capitol Police perform a challenging job with incredible skill, and their sacrifice makes democracy possible.
We also commend the brave first responders from Alexandria Police, Fire and Rescue who rushed to the scene. Everyone on that field is a public servant — our courageous police, our congressional aides who work so tirelessly behind the scenes with enormous devotion, and our dedicated members of Congress who represent our people.
We may have our differences, but we do well, in times like these, to remember that everyone who serves in our nation’s capital is here because, above all, they love our country.
We can all agree that we are blessed to be Americans, that our children deserve to grow up in a nation of safety and peace, and that we are strongest when we are unified and when we work together for the common good.
Please take a moment today to cherish those you love, and always remember those who serve and keep us safe. God bless them all, God bless you, and God Bless America.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a floor statement, “We are all giving our thoughts to those currently being treated for their injuries AT THIS MOMENT. And we are united. We are united in our shock and anguish. An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.”
You can read more of his speech below:
My colleagues, there are many memories from this day we will want to forget, and many images we will not want to see again. But there is one image in particular that this House should keep. And that is a photo I saw of our Democratic colleagues gathered in prayer this morning after hearing the news.
You know, every day, we come here to test and challenge each other. We feel so deeply about the things we fight for and believe in. At times, our emotions can get the best of us. We are all imperfect. But we do not shed our humanity when we enter this chamber.
For all the noise and fury, we are a family. These were our brothers and sisters in the line of fire. These were our brothers and sisters who ran into danger and saved countless lives.
So before this House returns to its business, I want us to slow down and reflect, to think about how we are being tested right now. Because we are. I ask each of you to join me in resolving to come together…to lift each other up…and to show the country—show the world—that we are one House. The people’s House—united in our humanity.
It is that humanity which will win the day. It always will.
The shooting is the first involving a member of Congress since then-Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords was attacked in January 2011 at a “Congress on Your Corner” event in Tucson. Giffords was shot in the head, but survived, while six others were killed and 12 were wounded. The gunman pleaded guilty in 2012 and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Giffords, who has become a leading gun control advocate since the shooting, tweeted on Wednesday, “My heart is with my former colleagues, their families & staff, and the US Capitol Police- public servants and heroes today and every day.”