Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Shooting At Congressional Baseball Practice

A view of the scene from the YMCA across the street
Shots were fired at a baseball practice for members of Congress and their aides early Wednesday morning in the Del Ray section of Alexandria, Virginia. The Chief of Police in Alexandria, VA told Fox News that a call was received at 7:09 AM of an active shooter, and says that the situation is table now and there "is no additional threat."

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) was shot in the hip, and two Capitol Police officers were also wounded in the attack. The suspect is currently in custody, say Alexandria police.

The shooting took place in the 400 block of East Monroe Street in the Del Ray section of Alexandria, Virginia. It is unclear at this time if any other people were injured.

In an interview granted to CNN, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) said“Scalise was on second base, and was crawling out, leaving trail of blood.” Reports indicate that Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) took off his belt to use as a tourniquet to stop blood loss.

Ben Childers, who lives near the area, posted a tweet saying "Hey @DelegateMark there was a shooting at the YMCA baseball fields this morning."

This is a breaking story, and we will provide further information as we get it.

UPDATE 2017-06-14 11:44 AM
The Washington Post reports that the shooter has been identified as James T. Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, IL. Hodgkinson is the owner of a home inspection business in Illinois, but according to state records his license expired in November 2016 and was not renewed.

In 2006 Hodgkinson was charged with battery and aiding damage to a motor vehicle, according to St. Clair County, IL records, but the charges were dismissed.

Hodgkinson used a rifle similar to an M4 assault rifle, according to CBS News and was reported to have fired upwards of 60 shots before being wounded by police. President Trump tweeted that the gunman had been captured and killed; this has been confirmed by multiple sources.

Hodgkinson's Facebook page consists primarily of anti-Trump posts (calling for his impeachment, etc.) along with some pro-Sanders material. Nothing on this page indicates that he was planning this attack. His last post, from June 13 at 9:01 AM, is a picture from the popular 70s children's cartoon "Schoolhouse Rock."

The Alexandria VA police is saying this is a closed investigation and that there is no more threat to the public. The area around the shooting site is still closed to the public at this time.

UPDATE 2017-06-14 1:09 PM
We have received the following statement from Lindy Li, an undeclared candidate for Congress in Pennsylvania's 6th District, who had friended Hodgkinson on Facebook in the past:

I unfriended the guy years ago because I found him disturbing. Can't unlike it or delete the comment. I've reported it to Facebook. I condemn his actions in the strongest possible terms. One of the reasons why I'm running for Congress is to prevent another Sandy Hook which happened on my birthday
 Despite further requests, Ms. Li did not provide any further comment.

UPDATE 2017-06-14 3:37 PM
We have received the following statement form the FBI with regard to the shooting in Alexandria:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — At approximately 7:09 AM today, the Alexandria Police Department responded to the scene at 400 East Monroe Avenue in Alexandria, Virginia. They arrived at 7:12 AM to shots fired in the vicinity of Eugene Simpson Stadium Park, where members of a Congressional baseball team were practicing. Multiple Members of Congress were present on scene, therefore the United States Capitol Police officers were also on scene.

The subject was engaged by law enforcement and shot at approximately 7:14 AM.

Five individuals were transported by Alexandria EMS, Arlington County EMS, and U.S. Park Police helicopter to local hospitals with gunshot wounds. Those transported include a United States Capitol Police officer who is hospitalized and is reported to be in stable condition, a Congressman, one congressional staffer, one lobbyist, and the subject.

A second Congressman sustained minor injuries and was also transported by a medic unit.

One additional United States Capitol Police officer was transported to the hospital in a police cruiser for minor injuries and has been released.

The shooter has been identified by law enforcement as James Hodgkinson, age 66, from Belleville, Illinois. Hodgkinson was taken to the hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

The FBI is actively investigating Hodgkinson to include his associates, whereabouts, social media impressions, and potential motivations. This is an active investigation that continues to unfold.

The ATF is running a trace on two weapons, to include a rifle and a handgun.

The scene remains an active investigation, where law enforcement, to include the FBI Evidence Response Team, ATF, and Alexandria Police Department, are collecting evidence. In addition, the FBI Springfield and St. Louis Evidence Response Teams are searching the subject’s home in Belleville, Illinois.

Individuals who have information regarding Hodgkinson should call the FBI 24-hour access line at 1-800-CALL-FBI and select option 1.
UPDATE 2017-06-15 2:34 PM
We have received the following statements from Matthew R. Verderosa, Chief of the Alexandria, VA Police Department, and from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Chief Verderosa's statement:


U.S. Capitol Police Response Saved Lives“I want to commend Special Agents Crystal Griner, David Bailey, and Henry Cabrera for their heroic and appropriate response in protecting the Members and others today during their practice for the Congressional baseball game.

“I’m grateful that Special Agent Griner is in good condition in the hospital having been shot in the ankle, and Special Agent Bailey was treated and released having sustained a minor injury during the incident.

“The United States Capitol Police is dedicated to its mission to protect the U.S. Capitol, Members of Congress, staff and the visiting public, and today we saw how our officers’ extensive training and quick response saved lives.

“I would like to thank our partner law enforcement agencies including the FBI, ATF, U.S. Park Police, Virginia State Police and especially the Alexandria Police Department, Alexandria Sheriff‘s Office, and Alexandria Fire Department for their assistance in responding to and investigating this incident.

“The United States Capitol Police will continue to provide a robust and visible presence across the Capitol Complex, and monitor national and world events to provide the level of security required to protect the U.S. Capitol and Members of Congress.”
The statement from the FBI:

WASHINGTON, D.C. —The FBI and our federal, state and local law enforcement partner agencies in Alexandria, Virginia and Belleville, Illinois, continue to investigate yesterday’s shooting at the Eugene Simpson Stadium Park located at 400 East Monroe Avenue in Alexandria, Virginia. The FBI continues to investigate the single shooter, James Hodgkinson, as well as his activities and social media impressions in the months leading up to yesterday’s incident.

The shooter’s weapons recovered at the scene include a 9 mm handgun and a 7.62 caliber rifle. ATF has conducted traces on these weapons and has determined that both were purchased by the shooter from federal firearms licensees. We currently have no evidence to suggest that the purchases were not lawful. The FBI has processed the shooter’s vehicle, a white conversion van, which was parked in the parking lot of the YMCA directly adjacent to the park where the shooting took place. From that vehicle, the FBI has recovered and is processing a cell phone, a computer, and a camera.

While the FBI and our federal, state and local partners continue to investigate and process the scene and evidence, we also continue to encourage the public to come forward with any information on the shooter. The FBI thanks the public for having submitted tips on the shooter.

We continue to seek information on any encounters the public may have had with him in his home state of Illinois or in Alexandria, Virginia, where law enforcement believe he has been staying since March 2017. The FBI’s Seeking Information poster on the shooter can be found at www.fbi.gov and the public can call 1-800- CALL-FBI to report tips, which can remain anonymous.

We ask for the community’s patience as the FBI continues to actively work the scene and complete the shooting trajectory. Local road closures around the scene will remain in place until law enforcement have completed processing the scene, which may continue into part of the weekend, or potentially early next week. The Alexandria Police Department will announce when those road closures are lifted.

Further investigative updates will be shared via press release and posted on www.fbi.gov

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