WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said the suspect in the shootings of Rep. Steve Scalise and four others Wednesday morning has died after a shootout at a baseball practice in Alexandria, Va.
Trump revealed the development at a brief news conference at about 11:35 a.m. EDT.
Although the president did not mention the suspect’s name, law enforcement officials identified him as James T. Hodgkinson.
He died at George Washington University Hospital, where he was rushed after being shot by police officers at the Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in Alexandria, Va. Congressional Republicans and aides were practicing for the annual charity baseball game scheduled to be played Thursday against Democrats.
Hodgkinson, 66, apparently used to own a home inspection business in Belleville, Ill, according to his Facebook page. The page also indicates he was a socialist and a Bernie Sanders supporter. He worked on Sanders’ campaign. Sanders is the cover photo on Hodgkinson’s Facebook page.
He is member of several anti-Republican groups, including “Terminate the Republican Party” an avid writer to newspapers showing his dismay for Republicans and Trump.
He has several postings on social media disparaging Trump, including a recent post where he writes, “Trump is a Traitor. Trump Has Destroyed Our Democracy. It’s Time to Destroy Trump & Co.”
Law enforcement officials say he opened fire at the baseball field shortly after 7 a.m. EDT.
Hodgkinson shot Scalise (R-La.), two U.S. Capitol Police officers assigned to protect him and two congressional aide before being shot himself and taken into custody, according to authorities.
Officials say Hodgkinson was armed with an M-4 assault rifle and a handgun. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is reportedly tracing both weapons. The FBI has taken over the investigation.
Court records show Hodgkinson was arrested in 2006 on a misdemeanor charge of battery against a girlfriend. MSNBC reported that police also arrived at his house when neighbors reporting in March 2017 when he had fired 50 rounds in a woods behind his house. Police told him not to fire the weapon in the neighborhood. He was not charged because he had a permit for the gun.
Law enforcement is trying to confirm reports that Hodgkinson recently moved to Alexandia.
Rep. Ron Desantes (R-Fla.) said he, Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) and his aide talked to the gunman shortly before the shooting. Desantes said he and Duncan were leaving the practice a little early and encountered a man on the parking lot who asked them if the players were Republicans or Democrats. When they responded, he turned away and left.
The congressman said he didn’t realize the man he spoke to was the shooter until he got back to his offices and saw the news.
Scalise is underwent surgery at Medstar Washington Hospital Center to treat a hip wound and is listed in critical condition.
The president called Scalise a friend and a patriot, and said he has the prayers of not only the capital but the world.
Trump praised the actions of the Capitol Police officers at the scene.
“Many lives would’ve 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,” Trump said at the White House.
The game will go on as planned for tomorrow.
This article is reprinted with permission from Talk Media News.
Top photo of Simpson Field, where the shooting took place, by Michael Jordan
Regina Holmes has more than two decades of experience as a journalist –editing and reporting for news dailies including the Miami Herald, Newsday and the Baltimore Examiner. She also launched an award-winning investigative news website that tackled police and political corruption in Baltimore. She has worked as a consultant for the World Bank and Baltimore County Public Schools. Regina became a journalist because even as a child she was fascinated by the power of the press: how it could force a president out of office, elect a president, expose corruption, and shine a light on discrimination. She is passionate about giving a voice to people who are disenfranchised, ignored or powerless, including people of color, senior citizens, the impoverished, people with disabilities, veterans, and children. Issues in which she is particularly interested include race relations, criminal justice, and police brutality. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from Vassar College and a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. She is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists. In her spare time, Regina enjoys traveling,antiquing, window-shopping for carsand watching HGTV.