Sen. Bernie Sanders said he was "sickened" by the actions of James T. Hodgkinson, a former volunteer for his presidential campaign now suspected of opening fire Wednesday morning at a baseball practice for Republican members of Congress,
"I have just been informed that the alleged shooter at the Republican baseball practice this morning is someone who apparently volunteered on my presidential campaign," Sanders said in a one-minute statement on the Senate floor.
The Washington Post spoke to a man who recalled canvassing with Hodgkinson during Sanders' Iowa caucus campaign.
"Let me be as clear as I can be," the Vermont senator said on Wednesday. "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 non-violent action, and anything else runs counter to our most deeply held American values."
"I am sickened by this despicable act," he said.
Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Ill., is said to be dead after allegedly shooting Republicans at a baseball field in Northern Virginia. One member of Congress, the third-ranking House Republican, Rep. Steve Scalise, is recovering in the hospital from a gunshot wound to the hip.
Hodgkinson appears to have been a member of anti-Republican groups on Facebook such as "Terminate the Republican Party," “Expose Republican Fraud,” and “The Road to Hell is Paved with Republicans.” He also belonged to pro-Sanders groups, “President Bernie Sanders” and “Illinois Berners United to Resist Trump.”
The suspected shooter wrote a number of letters to his local paper, the Belleville News-Democrat, criticizing Republicans, tax policy, and income inequality.
Sanders said he is keeping Scalise, congressional staffers, and wounded police in his thoughts and prayers.