Shooting Near the Capitol
Sources say the shooter targeted a regular Republican baseball gameBy Crawford Coates | Jun 14, 2017
A gunman opened fire at an early morning gathering of baseball practice that included Republican members of Congress and staff. According to Alexandria Police Chief Michael Brown, five people have been transferred to local hospitals, including the shooter. Sources, including President Trump, said the shooter has since died. At least one of the victims was medivaced to the hospital.
Among the injured was Republican House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was allegedly shot in the hip. Trump said in a tweet that Scalise “was badly injured but will fully recover,” adding, “Our thoughts and prayers are with him.”
According to U.S. Capitol Police Chief Matthew R. Verderosa among the injured are federal officers, who “acted heroically” and are in “good condition.” Because federal officers were wounded, the FBI will be taking over the investigation.
The shooting suspect has been identified as James T. Hodgkinson of Belleville, Ill., two federal law enforcement sources told National Public Radio. Hodgkinson was 66 years old, according to multiple sources online. He was taken into custody at the scene of the shooting. He was a member of several online groups that took stances against Republicans and the president, the Belleville News-Democrat reports.
The shooting occurred around 7 a.m. EST in the Del Ray area of Alexandria, just south of Washington, D.C., and about 8 miles from Capitol Hill.
[Update: 3:36 p.m.]
Authorities say two members of the Capitol Police force, Special Agent Crystal Griner and Special Agent David Bailey, returned fire with the gunman before local police arrived shortly after 7 a.m.
“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,” said President Trump. “Our brave Capitol Police perform a challenging job with incredible skill, and their sacrifice makes democracy possible.”
The two wounded officers are in good condition and expected to make a rapid recovery, according to Capitol Police Chief Matthew Verderosa.
“Suffice it to say that our officers acted, I believe, heroically today,” Verderosa said.
The security service for the U.S. Capitol began with a single watchman when Congress first moved to Washington from Philadelphia in 1800. The force was expanded and formalized in 1828 after a series of incidents, including an assault on the son of President John Quincy Adams in the Capitol Rotunda.
[Update: 3:44 pm EST]
From the Washington Post, details about the gunman, who was “living out of the gym bag”:
Former Alexandria mayor Bill Euille said he had talked with alleged shooter James T. Hodgkinson nearly every morning for the past month and a half and even tried to help him find a job after he realized that the man was living out of his gym bag.
Euille (D), who lost a reelection bid last year and was the city’s first African American mayor, said that when he went to work out at the local YMCA between 7 and 7:30 a.m. each day, he usually saw Hodgkinson showering after his own workout. Euille’s habit is to work out, then go to the Y’s lobby and have coffee and read on his phone. Hodgkinson was always there, on his laptop.
They began talking after Hodgkinson heard people greeting Euille as “Mayor.” They never talked about political issues, but when the lobby television would show some political news and others would comment about President Trump, “he indicated he agreed with us,” Euille said.
When Hodgkinson asked about available jobs, Euille, a general contractor, asked about his skills and learned that he was a home inspector. But when he forwarded some possibilities, Hodgkinson said he didn’t have a bachelor’s degree.
“He was a very friendly person,” Euille said. “But what I did notice about this gentleman is he’d open up his gym bag and in it, he had everything he owned. He was living out of the gym bag. That, and he sat in the Y’s lobby for hours and hours. Outside of myself, I don’t think he knew anyone else in town.”
[We will update this story as details emerge.]