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FBI reverses course, admits GOP baseball shooting was terrorism despite previous ‘suicide by cop’ designation

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation did an about-face in a recent report which reclassified a 2017 baseball field shooting by a radical Bernie Sanders supporter as “domestic terrorism.”

Just last month, a lawmaker revealed that the FBI previously designated the incident as “suicide by cop” despite the police officers being in plainclothes inside an unmarked vehicle. These facts, perhaps obviously, cast some doubt on the “suicide by cop” narrative.

The incident in question involved a deranged left-wing shooter, James Hodgkinson from Illinois, who injured GOP Minority Whip Steve Scalise (La.), shooting him in the hip during the summer baseball practice. Living out of a van at the time Hodgkinson reportedly had a handwritten hit list in his pocket of those to target. He also shot and injured lobbyist Matt Mika and two U.S. Capitol Police Officers Crystal Griner and David Bailey. The assassination list included several conservative congressmen who were members of the House Freedom Caucus.

Just two days prior to the incident, Hodgkinson had apparently posted on Facebook that “Trump is a Traitor, Trump Has Destroyed Our Democracy.” It’s Time to Destroy Trump & Co.” among other radical anti-Trump rhetoric including “Trump is Guilty & Should Go to Prison for Treason.”

The FBI reclassification was unveiled on page 35 of the 40-page document released on Friday titled “Security Strategic Intelligence Assessment and Data on Domestic Terrorism.” The document was a joint report from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Tucked in the appendix that described 85 “FBI-Designated Significant Domestic Terrorism Incidents in the United States from 2015 through 2019,” the June 14, 2017 shooting was clearly categorized as a “Domestic Violent Extremist” incident.

The report also summarized the shooting:

“Two individuals allegedly shot and killed a law enforcement officer during a traffic stop and then led officers on a high-speed chase and shootout. One subject was arrested on state charges of deliberate homicide, and the other died as a result of engagement with law enforcement.”

 

U.S. Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), who was present when the shooting occurred, revealed the FBI’s previous classification of the incident as “suicide by cop” during a House Intelligence Committee hearing last month.

“Director, you want suicide by cop, you just pull a gun on a cop,” Wenstrup told FBI Director Christopher Wray. “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.”

Executive assistant director of the FBI’s National Security Branch, Jill Sandborn, indicated in a House appropriations subcommittee late last month that if the incident happened today, the FBI would consider it to be domestic terrorism.

Several Republicans including Wenstrup and Scalise sent a letter to Wray earlier this week to request that the FBI review the “suicide by cop” conclusion and to revise their findings. The letter noted that there would not have been any law enforcement at the event if it wasn’t for Scalise’s security.

The FBI seems to be a little slow on the uptake, but given the new report that was quietly released, seems to have finally acknowledged the obvious about the 2017 domestic terrorist shooting.

Ashley Hill

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