The shooter who injured five people, including a member of Congress, had a list in his pocket that had the names of six members of Congress on it when he started firing at a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia last week, FBI officials said at a press conference Wednesday.
Andrew W. Vale, assistant director in charge of the FBI Washington Field Office, said the shooter acted alone and the case is being investigated as an assault on a member of Congress, not as a terrorist incident.
The shooter, James T. Hodgkinson, a 66-year-old man from Belleville, Illinois, purchased the SKS rifle used in the shooting in 2003 and the handgun in November 2016, said Timothy R. Slater, special agent in charge at the FBI Washington Field Office. The rifle had been modified to accept a detachable magazine.
The list of names Hodgkinson had in his pocket had no other context. Slater declined to say who the six members of Congress were, but previous reports have said the list included Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., and Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz. Brooks and Duncan were at the baseball practice that morning; Franks was not.
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Search history on Hodgkinson’s computer included only two members of Congress, Slater said. He didn’t name those members either. Slater confirmed prior reports that Hodgkinson prior to shooting had asked an unspecified witness, “Is this the Republican or Democrat baseball team?” When he was told it was the Republican team, he remained in the area.
The shooting injured five people, including Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., the House Majority Whip. Scalise is “doing a lot better,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said Tuesday, reporting that he has been talking and texting. The hospital listed him in serious condition on Saturday, but showing signs of improvement.
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.
Hodgkinson died from injuries inflicted during the shooting. Hodgkinson was a volunteer on the presidential campaign for Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., belonged to several Facebook groups that were anti-Republican and wrote several letters to his hometown newspaper denouncing Republican policies. Slater said while Hodgkinson did espouse anti-Republican views, all his writings were protected free speech and did not include threats.
FBI officials said Hodgkinson visited Sanders’ office while he was in D.C., but there’s no indication he met with the senator.
Hodgkinson has been previously charged with battery, with one incident allegedly involving him aiming a shotgun at a young man, and in March his neighbors complained about him shooting 50 rounds on his own property. Hodgkinson was a licensed firearms owner so no charges were filed in that incident.
Suzanne Hodgkinson, his wife of 30 years, said he told her he was going to Washington, D.C. to “work on taxes” and “change the tax brackets.”
McClatchy DC reporter Lindsay Wise contributed to this report.