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FBI officials confirmed Wednesday that the gunman who injured five people in last week’s shooting at a Republican congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Va., was carrying a note with the names of six lawmakers when he opened fire.
James T. Hodgkinson, a 66-year-old from Belleville, Ill., wounded five people, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and two Capitol Police officers, at the June 14 practice before he was shot by police. Hodgkinson later died.
Scalise, who has undergone multiple surgeries since the shooting, is now listed in fair condition at MedStar Washington Hospital and “is beginning an extended period of healing and rehabilitation,” the hospital said Wednesday.
On Hodgkinson, investigators found a piece of paper containing the names of six members of Congress, Timothy Slater, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s investigation, told reporters at a briefing Wednesday morning. Slater did not disclose the names of those lawmakers. A review of Hodgkinson’s Web activity showed a “cursory search” for information about two of those members, Slater said.
FBI officials have determined that Hodgkinson, who traveled to the Washington, D.C., area in March, had been living out of a van in the parking lot adjacent to the baseball field where the GOP team practiced. A pair of congressmen who left the practice early told the FBI that Hodgkinson approached them in the parking lot and asked them if the team practicing was Democrat or Republican.
Hodgkinson exited his vehicle armed with two weapons — a 7.62 mm caliber SKS rifle and a 9 mm handgun — walked toward the field and opened fire. A pair of Capitol Police officers who were detailed to protect Scalise engaged Hodgkinson, as did responding Alexandria police officers.
Andre Vale, assistant director in charge at the FBI’s Washington Field Office, said they have concluded that Hodgkinson acted alone and that the shooting was not terror-related.
“At this point in the investigation, the FBI does not believe there is a nexus to terrorism,” Vale said.
Hodgkinson had rented a self-storage unit in Alexandria, where agents found a laptop computer and more than 200 rounds of ammunition. Activity logs at the storage facility showed that Hodgkinson visited his unit more than 43 times between April and June, usually between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m., Slater said. On the morning of the shooting, Hodgkinson arrived at 6:23 a.m. and left 12 minutes later.
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As was widely reported, Hodgkinson made “numerous posts on all of his social media accounts espousing anti-Republican views,” Slater said. But the posts reviewed by the FBI so far “appear to be First Amendment-protected free speech,” he said, adding that it does not appear Hodgkinson made threats or even reference to specific members of Congress in his social media posts.
The night before the shooting, the FBI found, Hodgkinson made several Internet searches, including a Google map search for directions from Alexandria to his home in Belleville and a Google search of the “2017 Republican Convention.”
The FBI also found photographs and videos on Hodgkinson’s phone taken in April at various Washington, D.C., locations. On April 15, Hodgkinson “took multiple photographs of Eugene Simpson Stadium Park,” where last week’s shooting took place. But federal authorities do not believe any of the photos “represent surveillance of intended targets.”
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