FBI: Shooter acted alone, had anger is­sues

The Washington Times Daily - - NATION - BY SALLY PER­SONS

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.

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