According to a new report, the shooter who injured House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and three others at a congressional baseball practice on June 14, 2017 was casing the Alexandria, Virginia baseball field for months as he planned the shooting.
The report by the commonwealth’s attorney for the City of Alexandria found that James Hodgkinson, 66, had cellphone footage of the practice field where the shooting occurred back in April, and neighbors said that they saw him “casing” the area in the months leading up to it.
The report states that Hodgkinson started making comments to family members in late 2016 that he “would not be around much longer.”
In March of 2017, he unexpectedly announced to his family that he was going to Washington, D.C. to “protest” and to “talk about taxes.” While there, he reportedly lived out of his van, and rented a storage unit where he stored his firearms and ammunition.
One member of the GOP’s baseball team recalled seeing Hodgkinson sitting alone in the stands watching the game in the morning before the shooting occurred.
After the shooting, several witnesses also came forward and reported seeing Hodgkinson walking around Simpson Field in May. These statements, along with the cell phone footage Hodgkinson had taken in April, lead investigators to believe that he had already selected Simpson Field as his target as early as April 2017.
During the attack, Hodgkinson fired at least 70 rounds, most of them from an assault rifle, the report says. Capitol Police officers were able to neutralize him with return fire, and he later died at George Washington University Hospital from gunshot injuries.
Seriously injured in the attack, Scalise returned to Capitol Hill last week after months of surgeries and rehabilitation. The bullet had shattered his femur and caused extensive blood loss.
In his first remarks to the House after returning to Washington, the Louisiana Republican urged his colleagues not to make America’s political divisions “personal.”
“You have no idea how great this feels to be back here at work in the people’s House,” Scalise said this week. “It’s so important that as we’re having those political battles, we don’t make them personal,” he added.
“While some people might focus on a tragic event and an evil act, to me, all I remember are the thousands of acts of kindness and love and warmth that came out of this and kept me going through all of it,” Scalise said.
Scalise, who is still undergoing rehabilitation, threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Washington Nationals’ first playoff game on Friday night against the Chicago Cubs.
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