POLITICAL TERRORISM: GOP Lawmaker Targeted Following Baseball Field Shooting Spree

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2017/06/14/political-terrorism-gop-lawmaker-targeted-following-baseball-field-shooting-spree/

Wednesday morning’s attempted massacre at a baseball field in Virginia, in which an apparent Bernie Sanders backer opened fire on several GOP members of Congress and their staff after reportedly inquiring about the group’s political affiliation, allegedly inspired another as-of-now-unnamed individual to threaten a female Republican lawmaker.

Staffers for U.S. Representative Claudia Tenney (R-New York), not long after Capitol Police put down the alleged gunman, reported receiving a terror-inspired email message from an individual purportedly hailing from a nearby Congressional district who mocked the female GOP lawmaker, writing, “one down, 216 to go.”

“Did you NOT expect this?” the unknown individual wrote. “When you take away ordinary peoples [sic] very lives in order to pay off the wealthiest among us, your own lives are forfeit.

“Certainly, your souls and morality were lost long before. Good riddance.”

A spokesman for Tenny told reporters that while their office frequently receives threatening and mostly anonymous emails, the note they received Wednesday “was particularly disheartening given this morning’s tragic events.”

Several members of Congress and their staff had been practicing at a baseball field in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria in preparation for Thursday’s annual Congressional Baseball Game, a tradition that began in 1909, when a man identified as 66-year-old James Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois, opened fire. Armed with a rifle and a handgun, Hodgkinson, according to U.S. Representative Patrick Meehan (R-Pennsylvania), appeared unarmed when he approached U.S. Representative Ron DeSantis (R-Florida) and asked whether the players on the field were Republicans or Democrats.

Hodgkinson was shot by police, and later died from his injuries, but not before he managed to shoot and wound five, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, a Republican from Louisiana, who was shot in the hip. A duo of Capitol Hill Police officers, David Bailey and Crystal Griner, who were at the scene working a security detail for Scalise, suffered bullet wounds as well.

According to the Associated Press, Scalise as of Wednesday afternoon was listed as being in critical condition following surgery. He is expected to survive. According to various media reports, Griner and Bailey are being credited with preventing even more casualties. Hodgkinson was later pronounced dead as a result of the ensuing shootout with police.

According to the Washington Post, Hodgkinson worked as a home inspector in Belleville, Illinois, a St. Louis suburb, but had apparently been living in the Alexandria area for at least the previous six weeks. Former Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille, after being showed a photo of Hodgkinson, told the newspaper he had seen the man several times at a local YMCA adjacent to the baseball field where he carried out the shootings.

Others who suffered gunshot wounds at the hands of Hodgkinson included an aide for U.S. Representative Roger Williams, a Republican from Texas, named Zack Barth, and a former staffer who now works as a lobbyist, Matt Mika.

Williams was reportedly injured after he dove into the first base dugout once Hodgkinson opened fire.

Mika was listed as being in intensive care as of 5 p.m. Wednesday. Hours earlier, Barth alerted his followers on Twitter that he “is OK.

A glance at Hodgkinson’s social media history indicates that he had previously volunteered on Sanders’s presidential campaign and was a vocal opponent of the GOP. In a March 22 post, Hodgkinson wrote, “It’s Time to Destroy Trump & Co.”

Sanders in a Senate floor speech condemned Hodgkinson’s actions, saying that “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.”

Others later called out Sanders over his response immediately following the January 2011 shooting of then-U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-Arizona), an incident that Giffords survived but also saw the deaths of six individuals at the hands of a man who was later deemed unfit to stand trial due to a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia:

Hodgkinson was also apparently a member of a Facebook group dubbed “The Road To Hell Is Paved With Republicans.”

Thursday’s Congressional Baseball Game has not been canceled, per various reports.