Gunman Who Shot At GOP Congressmen Had "An Anger Management Problem," FBI Says
James Hodgkinson's attack on GOP congressmen during their baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia, appeared to be "spontaneous," with no link to terrorism, the FBI said.
James Hodgkinson, the 66-year-old who opened fire at a Republican congressional baseball practice in Virginia on June 14, had "an anger management problem," the FBI said on Wednesday.
Hodgkinson, who was from Belleville, Illinois, did not have a diagnosed history of mental illness, but was "struggling in a lot of aspects of his life," FBI Special Agent Tim Slater said at a press conference. Slater was sharing new investigative findings into the shooting that injured six people, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise.
Scalise, who was shot in the hip and was in a critical condition after the shooting, is currently in a "fair condition" and is "beginning an extended period of healing and rehabilitation," MedStar Washington Hospital Center said on Wednesday.
Others shot in the attack included lobbyist Matt Mika, Special Agent Crystal Griner, and Zack Barth, a staffer to Rep. Roger Williams. Special Agent David Bailey and Rep. Williams also sustained injuries during the incident.
Hodgkinson was shot multiple times in the torso, and later died at a hospital.
Slater said that the shooting appeared to be "spontaneous," and that investigators had not yet determined Hodgkinson's motive. He was "acting alone" when he opened fire, the FBI said.
The FBI said it was investigating the shooting as an assault on a member of Congress and an assault on a federal officer.
"At this point in the investigation, the FBI does not believe there is a nexus to terrorism," the agency said.
Slater said it did not appear that Hodgkinson had a target in mind when he opened fire at the Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in Alexandria last week.
Hodgkinson was "struggling in all kinds of different ways" and was on prescription medication at the time of the shooting, according to Slater.
He was "running out of money," unemployed, and looking for a job, while his 30-year marriage "was not going so well," Slater said.
"It was a pattern of life where you could tell things were not going well for Tom," Slater said, referring to Hodgkinson by his middle name.
Hodgkinson had a piece of paper that listed the names of six members of Congress, the FBI investigation revealed. However, there was "no context" included in the list.
Slater asserted that this was not a "hit list," and that the FBI did not believe that Hodgkinson had any targets among, or had made any threats against, any of those six unidentified members of Congress.
Hodgkinson's web-search history revealed "only a cursory search" of two of the members of Congress on the list.
The FBI also said that Hodgkinson visited a storage facility in Alexandria more than 43 times between April and June. According to a press release, the facility contained "a laptop computer, more than 200 rounds of ammunition, a receipt for a November 2016 gun purchase and additional SKS rifle components."
The night before the shooting, Hodgkinson did a Google search for the "2017 Republican Convention," the FBI said.
In April, Hodgkinson took cell phone photos and videos of various sites on the National Mall, and of several monuments including the US Capitol, the Library of Congress, the Washington Monument, and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.
However, Slater characterized these as "tourist" activities, and did not believe they constituted surveillance of intended targets.
The FBI did not find any online threats or references either to members of Congress or to the Congressional Baseball Game on Hodgkinson's digital devices.
"Hodgkinson made numerous posts on all of his social media accounts espousing anti-Republican views, although all of the posts reviewed thus far appear to be First Amendment-protected speech," the FBI said in a press release.
Hodgkinson visited Sen. Bernie Sanders' office sometime between April 15 and April 26, Slater said, adding that he did not know whether Hodgkinson — an ardent Sanders supporter — met with the senator. Hodgkinson also had email communications with the two US senators for Illinois — Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin.
The FBI confirmed that a witness reported that Hodgkinson has asked them on the morning of the shooting: “Is this the Republican or Democrat baseball team?” Hodgkinson reportedly remained at the baseball field when the witness told him it was a Republican practice, the FBI said.