Virginia

UPDATE: GOP baseball shooting classified 'act of terrorism'

Multiple people were injured, and the gunman, James Hodgkinson, was killed

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - On June 13, a lone gunman opened fire on a GOP practice for the annual Congressional Baseball Game at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park’s Simpson Field in Alexandria. 

Multiple people were injured, and the gunman, 66-year old James Hodgkinson, was killed. 

The City of Alexandria’s Commonwealth’s Attorney published the final report on the shooting, revealing new details about the shooter's motive and methods. 

The report rules the shooting an "act of terrorism." 

“The firearms that were used were a 7.62 semi-automatic, military-style assault rifle. He had 240 round magazines for that weapon, and he also had a handgun. He had a 9mm handgun, again, with two magazines,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter. 

The report states that Hodgkinson fired 70 to 80 rounds. Officers in turn fired 30 to 40. 

The report stated the officers were justified. 

Those close to Hodgkinson described him as “ill-tempered but not violent;” he did not have a criminal record. 

“The shooter purchased both of the firearms that were used totally lawfully, and there was nothing on his record or in his background that would have stopped him from purchasing those firearms,” explained Porter. 

Prior to the shooting, the report states Hodgkinson told family members he wouldn't be around much longer. He reportedly expressed strong political beliefs; as a Bernie Sanders fan, he was allegedly unhappy with the 2016 Election results. 

“It really boils down to people who really know the suspect, to be really cognizant of what's going on and to not be afraid of trying to get them some help,” said Porter. 

According to the report, a member of the Republican Baseball Team and a citizen said they had seen Hodgkinson casing the field prior to the attack. Cell phone video of the field taken two months prior to the incident was also found on his phone. 

The report also states that Simpson Field is bordered by a high, chain link fence, and by chance on the morning of the incident, the gate was padlocked, forcing the suspect to shoot through the gate and preventing him from getting onto the field. 

Porter said that coupled with the actions of the police saved countless lives the morning of the shooting.

Majority Whip Steve Scalise was shot during the practice. He continues to oppose gun control legislation, saying the shooting solidified his beliefs. 

Porter said although he strongly believes in the right to bear arms, he believes restrictions need to be put in place to handle what he believes is a “public health crisis.”


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