FBI: Shooter acted alone, had anger issues
The shooter in last week’s attack on Republican members of Congress was known to have an “anger management problem” but no documented mental illness, the FBI said Wednesday.
James Hodgkinson also acted alone and is not linked to a broader terrorist plot, said Tim Slater, an assistant director at the FBI, detailing the June 14 attack on GOP lawmakers practicing baseball at a field in Alexandria, just outside Washington.
The motive of the attack appears to be political, according to a preliminary search of Hodgkinson’s person and possessions.
“On the shooter we found a piece of paper that contained the names of six members of Congress. No context was included on this paper, however, a review of the shooter’s web searches in the months prior to the shooting revealed only a cursory search of two of those members,” Mr. Slater said.
“The shooter made numerous posts on all of his social media accounts espousing anti-Republican views, however, all of the posts reviewed thus far appear to be First Amendment-protected speech.”
The FBI isn’t ready to say the attack was premeditated, but Hodgkinson did have several photos on his phone of sites around Washington, D.C., including the park where members of Congress were practicing.
“On April 15, Hodgkinson took multiple photographs of Eugene Simpson Stadium Park. At this point in the investigation, the FBI does not believe that these photographs represented surveillance of intended targets, however, we continue to learn more about Hodgkinson’s recent activities,” the FBI said.
One of his victims, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, was upgraded to fair condition at MedStar Washington Hospital, the congressman’s office said in a statement.
“Congressman Steve Scalise continues to make good progress. He is now listed in fair condition and is beginning an extended period of health and rehabilitation,” according to the release.
The improvement is a positive sign for the congressmen, who arrived at the hospital last week with “imminent risk of death,” as MedStar’s director of trauma, Dr. Jack Sava, said on Friday. The bullet traveled across Mr. Scalise’s pelvis and caused a great deal of blood loss, leaving him in critical condition since arriving in the hospital.
“He was as critical as he [could] be when he came in,” Mr. Sava explained.
Mr. Scalise is expected to make a full recovery and is already showing signs of big improvement.
“I’ve heard through the grapevine, staff who know each other, he’s tweeting, he’s talking, his brain is working,” Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy said Wednesday on MSNBC. “The doctors are flabbergasted how quickly he’s improved. Prayers are working [and] thoughts going out are appreciated.”
Mr. Slater said that Hodgkinson had been living in his car at the nearby YMCA and had a storage unit containing more than 200 rounds of ammunition.
Mr. Slater said that Hodgkinson, who was from Illinois, attended one protest while in the Washington area. His record back home included a report of domestic violence in 2006, but charges were dropped.