The FBI decision to classify the 2017 congressional baseball shooting by a deranged Bernie Sanders supporter as a “suicide by cop” is not sitting well with the victims of the attack.
U.S. Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, who was at the baseball practice when the left-wing gunman opened fire, revealed the bureau’s previously undisclosed conclusion during a recent House Intelligence Committee hearing.
“Much to our shock that day, the FBI concluded that this was a case of the attacker seeking suicide by cop,” Wenstrup told FBI Director Christopher Wray at the hearing, according to Politico. “Director, you want suicide by cop, you just pull a gun on a cop. It doesn’t take 136 rounds. It takes one bullet. Both the DHS and the (Office of the Director of National Intelligence) published products labeling this attack as a domestic violent extremism event, specifically targeting Republican members of Congress. The FBI did not.”
Armed with an SKS rifle and a 9mm handgun, James Hodgkinson opened fire on 24 Republican lawmakers at a June 2017 baseball practice before the annual fundraising ballgame against Democrats, before being killed by then-House Majority Whip Steve Scalise’s security detail. Had the plain-clothed officers not been on hand, the outcome would have been far worse.
As it was, four people, including a Capitol Police officer, were shot, including Scalise, who sustained life-threatening injuries when shot in the hip.
The frustrated GOP lawmaker also sent a letter to Wray requesting that the “suicide by cop” decision be reconsidered and that the attack be declared a case of domestic terrorism.
“This conclusion defies logic and contradicts the publicly known facts about the perpetrator and the attack,” Wenstrup wrote. “The shooter had an extensive social media record highlighting his hatred of President Trump and Republicans.”
“I am extremely frustrated that the FBI failed to conduct thorough interviews during the initial investigation,” he added. “After canvassing multiple Members of Congress present during the attack, I am not aware that any of my colleagues present that day were interviewed as witnesses, including me.”
Scalise called the FBI’s designation “disturbing.”
“He went there to kill Republicans, and he had a list of Republicans in his pocket,” he told Fox News Thursday. “He specifically asked if that was the Republican practice before he went back and got his guns and came out. He didn’t know the security detail with me were cops, because they were plainclothes officers.”
“It’s not fair to the police officers who were involved that day, both Capitol Police, as well as the Virginia police, who acted bravely and heroically doing their jobs,” Scalise added.
The GOP leader also expressed his disagreement with the decision on social media.
I was shot by a deranged Leftist who came to the baseball field with a list of Congressional Republicans to kill.
This was NOT “suicide by cop.”
End of story. https://t.co/cSGYZeQO3I
— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) April 21, 2021
Ryan Thompson, a former Marine and chief of staff to then-Rep. Joe Barton, told Fox News the shooting was “an attempted assassination.”
He was standing next to Tyson Foods lobbyist Matt Mika, who coaches the GOP team, when he was shot in the chest and arm.
“The truth is this guy had a list in his pocket with Republican members of Congress listed on it and basically had a people to kill list,” Thompson said. “That’s not suicide by cop. That’s an attempted assassination.”
“We were furious about it,” he added.
Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., who was also present that day, was just as adamant that it was not a “suicide by cop” attempt.
“The guy had an assassination list in his pocket,” he told The Hill. “He asked [Rep.] Jeff Duncan beforehand, ‘Are these Democrats or Republicans,’ he was a radicalized Bernie Sanders supporter.”
Loudermilk stressed that Hodgkinson went back and forth, firing at lawmakers and the Capitol Police officers who made up Scalise’s security detail.
“That’s not what somebody does when they just want to die,” Loudermilk insisted.
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