Gunman in GOP Baseball Game Had Locker in Virginia With 200 Rounds of Ammo
James Hodgkinson rented a locker in Alexandria, Va., for two months prior to carrying out the shooting at a Republican congressional practice baseball game on June 14, according to the FBI. Investigators recovered 200 rounds of ammunition from the locker in addition to rifle components, a laptop, and a receipt for a gun purchase.
Hodgkinson visited the facility 43 times between April and June, usually in the morning between 6 and 7 a.m. and sometimes twice a day.
The FBI analyzed the gunman’s social media posts, but did not find any that threatened congressmen directly or referenced the baseball practice.
“Hodgkinson made numerous posts on all of his social media accounts espousing anti-Republican views, although all the posts reviewed thus far appear to be First Amendment-protected speech,” the FBI press release states.
Investigators are still reviewing data on Hodgkinson’s laptop and phone, adding more details to the days leading up to the shooting.
Between April 11 and 26, the shooter visited and took pictures and videos of various sites on the National Mall including the U.S. Capitol, the Dirksen Senate Office Building, the Library of Congress, the Supreme Court, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the Washington Monument.
The FBI does not currently believe that Hodgkinson’s intention was to surveil these as potential targets, but the investigation is still ongoing.
On the night before the shooting, Hodgkinson conducted a Google map search for a route from Alexandria back to his home in Bellevue. He also ran a Google search for “Republican Convention 2017.” While online that night he checked his bank account, Facebook, and checked news highlights.
Witnesses told FBI that Hodgkinson was frequently seen around local libraries around Alexandria to get free Wi-Fi. He was not able to access the library because being a non-resident he was not eligible for a local library card.
Analysis of the shooter’s phone and email account is still ongoing, the FBI stated.
The shooting occurred as 25 to 30 Republican members of the House and Senate had gathered for an early morning practice a day before the annual charity congressional baseball game against Democrats.
Scalise, No. 3 in the House of Representatives Republican leadership, was shot in the hip and remains hospitalized. Hodgkinson was fatally wounded in a shootout with police.
Reuters contributed to this report.