GOP Shooter Identified as Former Bernie Sanders Volunteer

The shooter has been identified as James T. Hodgkinson, who died after exchanging a barrage of gunfire with authorities on the baseball field.

The Republican congressional baseball practice shooter has been identified as James T. Hodgkinson of Belleville, Ill., who died of injuries sustained in a gunfight with authorities, President Trump announced.

The 66-year-old man had two Facebook pages, one with a profile photo of Vermont senator and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, whom he volunteered for last year.

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Both his Facebook and Twitter accounts were peppered with anti-GOP posts.

Hodgkinson's messages included opposition to the NEXUS pipeline, calls to impeach Trump and support for tax reform. He belonged to several anti-GOP groups including one named "Terminate the Republican Party," the Belleville News-Democrat reported.

By Wednesday afternoon, all of the social media accounts had been taken down.

Hodgkinson was injured in a shootout with authorities at the baseball field and died while in police custody, authorities said. He was armed with an assault weapon and a handgun and federal authorities said they were trying to determine how he got them.

Sen. Bernie Sanders made an impassioned speech after learning Hodgkinson was a supporter who had volunteered for his presidential campaign last year.

"I am sickened by this despicable act," Sanders said of the shootings. "Let me be as clear as I can be. Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms."  

The shooting occurred while the Republican baseball team was practicing in Alexandria, Va. A charity game pitting Democrats against Republicans is slated for Thursday and will go on as scheduled, according to team members.

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Witnesses told authorities that the suspect had approached bystanders, asking what political party the team belonged to. Capitol and Alexandria police responded to the scene, and exchanged fire with the shooter before he was taken into custody, authorities said.

Five people were injured in the barrage of gunfire, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who underwent surgery Wednesday morning and is now listed in stable condition.

Two Capitol police officers and a congressional aide were also wounded, police said.

Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, the team’s manager, said there were “dozens, if not hundreds of shots fired,” The Washington Post reported.

Players and onlookers scrambled into a dugout and underneath an SUV while seeking refuge from the bullets, Barton said.

Hodgkinson had a history of run-ins with police including arrests for battery, resisting arrest and drunken driving, The Washington Post reported.

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