ST. LOUIS - The man who opened fire at the congressional baseball practice has been identified as a man from Belleville, Illinois. NBC has identified him as James Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville.
On Wednesday morning, a group of Republican congress members were practicing for their annual charity baseball game when a man opened fire. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise is among the wounded and currently in surgery.
Scalise is in critical condition following surgery.
In a press conference, President Trump announced the shooting suspect has died from his injuries.
According to Belleville police, Hodgkinson was target practicing with a hunting-style rifle at his property in March 2017 and he cooperated when police asked him to stop. This residence is located in unincorporated in St. Clair County where possessing a gun and shooting safety is legal. He also had a valid firearms owner identification card.
"Here's a Republican that should lose his job, but they gave him a raise,'' James T. Hodgkinson allegedly wrote in a 2015 post to his Facebook account, referring to the Louisiana congressman. The message was accompanied by a cartoon depiction of Scalise.
Federal authorities said it was too early to determine whether the assault targeted members of Congress. But Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., raised the ominous prospect that the incident may have been politically motivated, saying that a man who appeared to match Hodgkinson's description approached him and others in the parking lot of the Alexandria, Va., baseball field to ask whether the practice involved Republicans or Democrats.
"Now, that I've seen the (suspect's) photo, I've got to believe that he was the guy,'' DeSantis said on MSNBC.
In a March 22 Facebook post, Hodgkinson, who turned his ire against Trump, who he described as a "traitor.''
"Trump Has Destroyed Our Democracy,'' he said. "It's Time to Destroy Trump & Co."
In a post earlier this week, the suspect highlighted a campaign calling for the president's impeachment.
"Trump is Guilty & Should Go to Prison for Treason,'' Hodgkinson wrote.
His Facebook, which has since been removed, said he is the 'former owner at JTH Inspections.' The page on his former business has been pulled from Yelp.
U.S. Representative Mike Bost (IL-12) issued the following statement regarding this morning’s shooting of House GOP Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), members of his security detail, and Capitol Hill staff in Alexandria, Virginia:
“With reports indicating that Wednesday morning’s shooter is from my district, this is a tragedy that certainly hits close to home. As we continue to gather information, Tracy and I would like to send our prayers to my friend and colleague, Steve Scalise, as well as members of the security detail and congressional staff who were injured. We live in challenging times and the political rhetoric has been turned up to an alarming level. This should serve as a wake-up call for all of us to step back from the battle lines and come together to strengthen our nation.”
Congressman John Shimkus (R, Illinois-15) released the following statement regarding the shooting at this morning’s practice for the annual Congressional Baseball Game for charity. The congressman was not at practice today.
“My prayers are with my good friend and DC roommate, Steve Scalise, as well as the Capitol Police officers, Members, staff and all those affected by today’s shooting. While we don’t yet fully know the motive behind this shameful act of evil, there is no doubt the heroism of the Capitol Police saved lives this morning. I am deeply thankful for their bravery, and I hope for speedy recoveries for all those wounded in this cowardly assault.”
This is a developing story and will be updated as we receive more information.
USA Today contributed to this report.
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