James T. Hodgkinson (66) has been identified by authorities as the gunman who wounded at least five persons at an amateur baseball game in Alexandria VA. Among those injured is Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, a high-ranking conservative Republican. Hodgkinson has also been identified as a fervent supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the independent of socialist leanings. A former resident of Belleville IL, Hodgkinson had been living in Alexandria for two months before the shooting. On his Facebook page, he expressed hatred for Republicans in general and President Donald Trump in particular. He volunteered on Sanders’ presidential campaign in 2016.
 
Scalise remains in critical condition at a hospital. Two Capitol police officers who were guarding Scalise were wounded in the shootout, but are expected to recover, as is Scalise. Hodgkinson was shot in an exchange of gunfire with police. 
 
Following the shooting, Sen. Sanders released a statement that condemned the shooting in the “strongest possible terms.” Here is Sanders’ complete statement:
 
“I have just been informed that the alleged shooter at the Republican baseball practice is someone who apparently volunteered on my presidential campaign. I am sickened by this despicable act. 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. Real change can only come about through nonviolent action, and anything else runs against our most deeply held American values.
 
“My hopes and prayers are that Representative Scalise, congressional staff and the Capitol Police Officers who were wounded make a quick and full recovery. I also want to thank the Capitol Police for their heroic actions to prevent further harm.” Earlier on Wednesday, before admitting that Hodgkinson was a supporter, Sanders said he was praying for Scalise, the two policemen, and the congressional aides who were wounded. He added in his tweet: “We’ve got to stop the violence.”

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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