Gunman Who Shot Congressman Had No Target In Mind

A week after an IL man shot a top Republican in Congress and wounded several others, law enforcement officials said the investigation has found that the gunman acted alone when he fired dozens of bullets at lawmakers gathered for a Republican baseball practice, and that no links to any wider plot had been found by the FBI. Rep. Steve Scalise of Lousiana, the House majority whip, was struck in the hip and gravely wounded. Another police officer was injured. The congressman is making good progress and has been upgraded from serious to fair condition, MedStar Washington Hospital Center said on Wednesday. He was shot multiple times and underwent several surgeries. Both police officers are recovering and expected to return to full duty.

In a statement to the press, the Federal Bureau of Investigation revealed that Hodgkinson acted alone, and no nexus to terrorism is now suspected. We also assess that there was no nexus to terrorism.

In March, Hodgkinson left IL and drove to Alexandria, Virginia, where he lived in his van in a YMCA parking lot. They said he acted alone and had no connections to terror groups.

The FBI said the gunman, 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson, was living in his vehicle in the greater Washington, D.C., area since March before he launched the attack on June 14. Prior to his departure from IL, a neighbor reported Hodgkinson to police for firing a gun on his property, but police determined he had not committed a crime.

Slater said Hodgkinson displayed "just a pattern of life that things weren't going well" such as unemployment, diminishing savings, and a struggling marriage. Records showed he visited the storage unit more than 43 times in two months, usually between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. The FBI found a laptop computer, more than 200 rounds of ammunition, a receipt for the November 2016 gun purchase and additional SKS rifle components inside the unit.

FBI investigators have not released the names on the list, but Griffith said law enforcement informed him of his connection to the case Thursday - the day after the June 14 shooting.

Some signs suggest that Hodgkinson might not have known about the daily GOP practices ahead of this year's Congressional Baseball Game. He said Hodgkinson had never posted direct threats against members of Congress or the Congressional baseball game, but said that a witness told investigators Hodgkinson stayed at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park after being told it was the Republican team practicing. Hodgkinson was taking prescription drugs, although Slater did not say what the drugs were for or whether he was abusing them.

Hodgkinson took photos of various monuments and government buildings, including the Supreme Court and "inside the visitor's entrance of the Dirksen Senate Office Building". Bernie Sanders and opposition to the Trump administration, the gunman also wrote letters to his local newspaper blasting Republicans for an agenda focused on serving the rich.

On the night before the shooting, Hodgkinson conducted a Google map search for a route from Alexandria back to his home in Bellevue.

On June 12, Hodgkinson sent a message to a family member in IL saying he would be returning home. Hodgkinson then remained at the baseball field.

  • Larry Hoffman