Shooting At GOP Baseball Practice Seems To Have Been Spontaneous, FBI Says


Tim Slater, special agent in charge of the FBI's Washington field office, holds up a flyer looking for information about shooter James T. Hodgkinson at a news conference a week ago in Alexandria, Va.

For most of that window in April, Congress was not in session, and a Sanders spokesman said Wednesday that Hodgkinson did not meet with the senator.

After the shooting, investigators searched Hodgkinson's home in IL and a storage facility in Alexandria he began renting in April. "He spoke a lot about anti-Republican rhetoric". Slater said Hodgkinson "suffered from taking some prescription medication".

"The FBI is investigating this shooting as an assault on a member of Congress and an assault on a federal officer", the FBI said in a statement.

An undated social-media photo of James Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois.

Inside the storage unit, authorities found components for the SKS rifle, a receipt for the November 2016 gun purchase and 200 rounds of ammunition. Up until the shooting, he visited the storage space 43 times.

Investigators don't know who Hodgkinson meant to target.

Hodgkinson visited the office of Sen. Bernie Sanders' office as a tourist.

On June 12, Hodgkinson sent a message to a family member in IL saying he would be returning home.

Investigators also reviewed Hodgkinson's online searches and browsing history, revealing queries for the "2017 Republican Convention" and directions from Alexandria to his IL home on the night before the shooting.

Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., however has raised the prospect that the incident may have been politically motivated, saying shortly after the attack that a man who matched Hodgkinson's description approached him and others in the parking lot of the baseball field to ask whether the practice involved Republicans or Democrats.

Hodgkinson, suspect in shooting at Congressional baseball practice.

Hodgkinson was killed in a shootout with police.

At 7:14 a.m., Hodgkinson was reported down.

Representative Steve Scalise, the House majority whip, was gravely wounded in the shooting last week.

The attack at the baseball field appeared to be more spontaneous than planned out, Slater said.

Some users of the YMCA noticed him but later said they were never suspicious of him, while others described him as odd or a "sourpuss".

"On the shooter, we found a paper that contained the names of six members of Congress", Slater told reporters, though he did not characterize it as a hit list.

The FBI says it found police calls to Hodgkinson's Belleville home over complaints of his holding target practice in his backyard, and a 2006 domestic battery charge.

"The shooter made numerous posts on his social media accounts", he said, "espousing anti-Republican views, however those posts appeared to be First Amendment protected rights".

According to the statement, Hodgkinson bought his SKS rifle in November, after the election, from an licensed dealer in IL.