The gunman who wounded five people at the congressional baseball practice on Wednesday only opened fire after learning that the men on the field were Republicans. In his pocket, he had a list of Republicans that he wanted to assassinate.
Representatives Jeff Duncan (R-SC) and Ron DeSantis (R-FL) were leaving the baseball field when they were approached by a man, James Hodgkinson, who asked if it were Democrats or Republicans practicing on the field. Moments later, over 50 shots from a high-powered rifle were fired.
Five people were injured, including Congressman Steve Scalise from Louisiana, who remains in critical condition at MedStar hospital.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who was present at the shooting, commended the Capitol Police for their protection and quick response.
“Without Capitol Hill police, it would have been a massacre.”
The sentiment has been expressed emphatically by others in Washington.
Today, The Daily Caller published an exclusive story about a list found in James Hodgkinson’s pocket after police brought him down. It was written on notepad paper and had the names of at least three Republican congressmen on it, including representative Jeff Duncan, who spoke with Hodgkinson before the attack. After learning from Duncan that it was Republicans practicing on the field for the annual Congressional baseball game, Hodgkinson left to get his rifle, returned to the field, and opened fire.
Other Republican congressmen on the assassination hit list are Alabama Representative Mo Brooks and Arizona Representative Trent Franks. The FBI phoned the congressmen to let them know that their names were on an assassination list found on the shooter.
James Hodgkinson’s attack appears to be politically motivated. In addition to targeting Republicans and the newfound assassination list, Hodgkinson posted inflammatory statements on Facebook criticizing President Trump and other members of the Republican party. He was invested in liberal politics and volunteered for Bernie Sanders’ campaign.
For his part, the Vermont Senator left no question that he found the assassination attempt despicable.
“Let me be as clear as I can be. Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms.”
Hodgkinson seemed especially distraught with the result of the November presidential election. In March, Hodgkinson wrote about his support for a petition to investigate Donald Trump for treason.
“It’s time to destroy Trump & Co.”
He belonged to several anti-GOP Facebook groups, including one called “Terminate the Republican Party.” Members of the group praised Hodgkinson online after learning about the political assassination attempt.
Hodgkinson had run-ins with the law and did not appear to live a stable life before police shot and killed him during the firefight on the baseball field. He was living in his van and had a police record that included drunk driving, assault, and battery. In the past, neighbors had complained about him shooting guns near their home.
With this attack, many Republicans are saying that the political rhetoric between the parties has gotten out of hand and needs to tone down. Some Democrats are saying they will only tone down the rhetoric once the right bends on policy issues and that Trump started it first anyway.
But for those present at the shooting, it has been a time to put aside political differences. When asked who would win the Congressional baseball game, Congressman Brad Sherman, who is a Democrat from California, answered “America.” The Democrats, who won the game, said they wanted the trophy from the baseball game to be displayed in wounded Congressman Steve Scalise’s office until the congressman returned from the hospital. He remains in critical condition from a shot to the hip.
[Featured Image by Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP Images]