Va. Gunman Asked Ominous Question Before Shooting

'Is this the Republican or Democrat baseball team?'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 21, 2017 2:07 PM CDT

(Newser) – The gunman at a Virginia ballfield where a GOP baseball team was practicing had more than 200 rounds of ammunition in a locker in Alexandria he visited every day, the FBI says. He also had a list on him with the names of six members of Congress and had done "cursory" searches of the web for two of the names, but the bureau is not characterizing the list as a "hit list," the Washington Post reports. There was "no context included" with the names; Fox News reports all six are associated with the House Freedom Caucus. (Earlier reports said the list contained just three names.) James T. Hodgkinson had visited the locker less than an hour before opening fire on the baseball practice, injuring House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and four others, on June 14. None of those injured was on the list, CNN reports. The FBI released other details about Hodgkinson during its press conference Wednesday, but said his motive is still unclear.

Hodgkinson had no specific mental health issues but was "struggling in all kinds of different ways," an FBI agent said, explaining that he was unemployed, in financial and marital trouble, on prescription drugs, and dealing with anger issues when he left Illinois for Virginia and spent months living in his van in Alexandria starting in March. In April, he attended a tax reform demonstration and visited Sen. Bernie Sanders' office, officials say. A review of his laptop, cellphone, and camera seemed to show the activities of a typical tourist, not someone planning a shooting, officials say, per USA Today. Officials said the shooting was apparently spontaneous, with no threats being posted online beforehand, and was not connected to terrorism. Minutes before the shooting, he asked a witness at the ballfield, "Is this the Republican or Democrat baseball team?" (Read more James Hodgkinson stories.)

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