Congressional shooting

The Daily Mail reports:

The gunman who opened fire on a Republican congressional baseball practice session this morning before being killed by cops has been identified as a Trump-hating Bernie Sanders supporter. 

Sixty-six-year-old James T. Hodgkinson from Belleville, Illinois, was killed by Capitol Police after firing up to 100 rounds from an assault rifle at a baseball park in Alexandria, Virginia, leaving five injured including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise.

Hodgkinson was a staunch Bernie Sanders supporter and campaigned for the left-wing senator to get the Democratic nomination for president last year. The union tradesman, who ran a home inspection business, threatened to ‘destroy’ the president and his administration on social media. 

He was shot by two Capitol Police officers who were accompanying Scalise to Eugene Simpson Stadium Park for the scheduled baseball practice ahead of Thursday night’s charity game.

The male and female officers were both wounded as they used their pistols to shoot at Hodgkinson while the congressmen fled to a dugout. 

Zachary Barth, a congressional staffer for Texas Rep. Roger Williams, was shot in the leg but is expected to recover. The two Capitol Police officers, Krystal Griner and David Bailey, are also expected to make a full recovery.  Lobbyist Matt Mika was also injured and is in hospital.

Moments before the attack, a man – thought to be Hodgkinson –  asked if the group were Republicans or Democrats, Florida Rep. Ron DeSantis said. North Carolina Rep. Mike Walker told NBC News he seemed he was there ‘to kill as many Republican members as possible.’ 

A terrible act motivated by the politics of hate.

Michigan Rep. Mike Bishop earlier described how one man – thought to be part of Scalise’s Capitol Police protection detail – stood his ground to return fire as the congressmen and at least one of their children dove for cover in a dugout and Scalise dragged himself across the field after being hit, leaving a trail of blood behind him.

He told CBS Detroit: ‘As we were standing here this morning, a gunman walked up to the fence line and just began to shoot. I was standing at home plate and he was in the third base line.  He had a rifle that was clearly meant for the job of taking people out, multiple casualties, and he had several rounds and magazines that he kept unloading and reloading.’

He said: ‘The only reason why any of us walked out of this thing, by the grace of God, one of the folks here had a weapon to fire back and give us a moment to find cover.’ 

It could have been far worse.

Any shooting is bad, but trying to kill elected representatives is more than an attack on individuals – it is an attempt to destroy the democracy of a country.

UPDATE: The shooter has a wonderful background – has convictions for beating his daughter.

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