UPDATED with statement from Bernie Sanders: Sen. Bernie Sanders took the floor in the Senate after learning the man who opened fire on a House of Reps GOP baseball team practice was a volunteer on his presidential campaign:
“I have just been informed that the alleged shooter at the Republican baseball practice is someone who apparently volunteered on my presidential campaign. I am sickened by this despicable act. And let me be as clear as I can be. Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society, and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms. Real change can only come about through nonviolent action, and anything else runs against our most deeply held American values.
My hopes and prayers are that Representative Scalise, congressional staff and the Capitol Police Officers who were wounded make a quick and full recovery. I also want to thank the Capitol Police for their heroic actions to prevent further harm.”
The alleged shooter, James Hodgkinson, had extensive social media anti-Trump postings, TV news outlets are reporting, citing anonymous authorities. He recently had posted angry tweets on Facebook about POTUS. His Facebook page is filled with photos of Bernie Sanders, the Washington Post was first to report.
Some outlets are reporting gunman had asked whether the congressmen practicing at Simpson Park in Alexandria, VA for Thursday’s House Dems vs. GOP charity baseball game were Republicans or Dems. The FBI is now in charge because it was an attack on Congress, which is federal crime.
Earlier, law enforcement have identified Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, IL. President Donald Trump, in a hastily called address from the White House, announced the shooter died of his injuries.
Police say it’s too early to say if the shooting was politically motivated. One reporter who put the question to reps of local police, Capitol Hill police, and FBI said he had heard the shooter asked if they were Dems or Republicans before opening fire.
At a news conference, authorities said five people were transported to local hospitals, but would not say if one of them was the shooter; he was later ID’s as the lone fatality so far. They dodged questions as to whether the shooter set out to target Republican House members.
GOP House members and staff were practicing at the park for a charity game with Dems scheduled for Thursday night at Nationals Park. Unclear if the annual charity game, played since 1909, will be postponed.