FBI to detail findings on Congressional baseball shooting

Posted June 23, 2017

A gunman acted alone when he shot and wounded a top House Republican and four other people on a northern Virginia baseball field, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said Wednesday.

The FBI offered little insight into the gunman's motive other than to say 66-year-old James Thomas Hodgkinson "was struggling with a lot of aspects of his life", said Timothy Slater, an FBI special agent-in-charge at the Washington field office, during a press conference.

The updates on the investigation of the attack that wounded five, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, a Louisiana Republican, came on Wednesday (June 21) with the FBI saying it still was not clear what motivated the unemployed home inspector from IL to travel to the Washington-area where he spent months living in his van in Alexandria before launching the shootings. The congressman is making good progress and has been upgraded from serious to fair condition, MedStar Washington Hospital Center said on Wednesday. He walked to the baseball fields where practice was underway for the 2017 Congressional Charity Baseball Game.

US Capitol Police and other officers returned fire and killed the gunman, who turned out to be an unemployed home inspector with a deep animosity towards President Donald Trump and other Republicans.

When the witness told him the team was Republicans, Hodgkinson stayed nearby. The unit contained a laptop, more than 200 rounds of ammunition, the receipt for his 2016 rifle purchase, and other rifle components.

Hodgkinson was fatally wounded in a shootout with police. Griffith was the only member of Virginia's congressional delegation named on the list.

Officials also said Hodgkinson had kept a storage locker in Alexandria and visited it 43 times between April and June, usually between 6am and 7am At times, he went to the unit daily and sometimes more than once.

Information uncovered shows that Hodgkinson left Belleville in March of this year, telling a family member that he was traveling to Washington, D.C. but did not say why.

Hodgkinson left his home in Belleville, Ill., in March and drove to the Alexandria area, where he then lived in his auto at a YMCA across the street from the baseball field.

Additionally, Slater said, Hodgkinson did not appear to have had specific targets or "an agenda to actually follow through on these six individuals".

Hodgkinson had been involved in a protest in Belleville, Illinois, where he was living outside a U.S. post office building.

Hodgkinson had a list in his pocket with the names of six members of Congress with no other context during the shooting.

"At this point in the investigation, it appears more spontaneous", Slater said. In November, shortly after Trump was elected, he purchased the two guns that he used in the shooting, a rifle and a 9mm handgun.

Others injured in the shooting include two Capitol Police officers, Special Agents David Bailey and Crystal Griner; Matt Mika, a lobbyist for Tyson Foods; and Zach Barth, a legislative correspondent for Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas.