On June 14, 2017, at approximately 7 a.m. ET, reports surfaced about shots fired at the Eugene Simpson Stadium Park located in Alexandria, Virginia. The park was occupied by approximately 20-25 Republican congressmen who were practicing for an upcoming baseball game before their workday began. The Congressional Baseball Game is held annually and pits Democrats and Republicans against each other in a non-partisan, fun environment. Eyewitness video has since come in documenting the moment the first rounds were fired. You may watch those videos below. When news broke about the shooting, very little details were revealed. As the day progressed, the names of the shooter and the Congressional Representatives who were struck were revealed.
Victims wounded during the Congressional mass shooting are as follows, according to the Washington Post.
- Steve Scalise House Majority Whip
- David Bailey U.S. Capitol Police
- Crystal Griner U.S. Capitol Police
- Zach Barth a staffer for Representative Roger Williams
- Matt Mika Tyson Foods lobbyist
All five were transported to nearby hospitals for treatment.
The President was first to reveal that the anti-Trump gunman, James T. Hodgkinson, was shot and later died at the hospital. The F.B.I. later confirmed Hodgkinson’s death. He was 66-years-old and hailed from Illinois. The investigation is ongoing and as we learn more about the gunman, information will be updated. Hodgkinson had used social media networks to share his hatred for President Trump and Republican members of Congress. He had supported Bernie Sander’s run for the presidential office and had made earlier online threats towards President Trump. Bernie Sanders condemned Hodgkinson’s actions and other lawmakers used the despicable act to plead for citizens to return to a state where people no longer treat each other with vitriol and hate. Secret Service reported that Hodgkinson was not on their radar. The news has sparked debate over how much attention should be given to online threats, especially death threats towards President Trump.
By 8:30 a.m. ET, Democratic and Republican leaders began using social media networks to address the shooting incident and try to calm constituents’ fears. Very little information was available and many just asked people to pray for those involved, while also revealing their horror, shock, and disgust. Early reports correctly identified Majority Whip Steve Scalise as being severely injured in the shooting. As further reports came in, it was learned Scalise had been shot in the hip. He underwent surgery and is currently listed in critical condition.
According to NBC News, a man who was later identified as James T. Hodgkinson approached Representatives Ron DeSantis (R-Fl) and Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) and asked whether the Congressmen practicing on the field were Democrats or Republicans. Both men had left Eugene Park before the shooting occurred, but quickly realized they had spoken with the gunman as reports surfaced. They have given their statements to police.
Exactly how many rounds of gunfire were exchanged is unknown and the investigation remains open. A nearby YMCA was struck by bullets terrifying those in the immediate vicinity. Nearby schools were immediately put on lockdown.
By noon, President Trump released a press statement to the public condemning the evil acts and asking the nation to pray for the victims.
Part of the ongoing, active investigation is searching James T. Hodgkinson’s home. Not only is home being investigated and his personal electronics undergoing forensic examination for evidence, but authorities must ensure there are no other possible suspects involved. The ATF is currently investigating the weapons used in the mass shooting.
As investigators continue to paint a picture of the shooter James T. Hodgkinson, they’ve uncovered a series of letters he had written to Congressional leaders over the years. The Belleville News-Democrat has interviewed many of Hodgkinson’s former neighbors and shared his letters online. You may read Hodgkinson’s letters at the site.
Senator Jeff Flake was an eyewitness to the Congressional mass shooting and provided an account from his experience to CNN. You can watch that video below.
Stay tuned for more updates on this news story. You may see many videos, photos, and tweets below. Please be forewarned as some of the videos contain graphic content, including live footage captured from the shooting.
Watch: Eyewitness Reports of Gun Shots Fired on June 14, 2017, at Congressional Baseball Practice
Watch Live News Coverage: Six Shot in Alexandria Virginia, Including Gunman James T. Hodgkinson
[Featured Image by Alex Wong/Getty Images]