On Wednesday morning at approximately 7 a.m., James Thomas Hodgkinson opened fire at a Congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia, hospitalizing 5 people.
The survivors of the attack include Republican House Whip Steve Scalise, Congressional staffer Zach Barth and a lobbyist for Tyson Foods Matt Mika, as well as two Capitol Police Officers assigned to Rep. Scalise’s security detail. Reports indicate that Representative Scalise underwent surgery at MedStar Washington Hospital Center and is in critical condition. James Thomas Hodgkinson, the alleged gunman, was killed in a shoot-out with Alexandria police following his initial attack.
Like most perpetrators of mass shootings, Hodgkinson had a history of domestic abuse and battery towards his two teenage foster daughters, one of whom was removed from his home by the state after a number of violent assaults and another who committed suicide. As Slate stated, “Domestic violence is not a personal problem or an attack against a single individual. It betrays an attacker’s perverted relationship to power and should be treated with severity befitting of what it is: a warning sign and predictor of future acts of mass violence.”
Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords, who was shot in the head in 2011 by a mass shooter, has released a statement saying, “It doesn’t matter if you’re a Democrat or a Republican, nor if you’re a senator or a representative, nor a staffer or a sworn officer. If you serve the institution of Congress, you’re connected to your colleagues, current and former, by a shared sense of service to ideals far greater than yourself. This shooting is an attack on all who serve and on all who participate in our democracy.”
The congressional baseball game, a rare chance for Democrats and Republicans to come together for a common cause off the Hill, will proceed as planned Thursday at Nationals Park.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, the shooting in Alexandria is reportedly the 154th mass shooting this year and the sixth such incident this week. The topic of gun safety is highly controversial and one that remains contested by American citizens and legislatures alike. In fact, in the wake of the shooting, a congressional hearing on gun legislation, scheduled for Wednesday morning, was canceled.
Media Resources: NYTimes 6/14/17; CNN 6/14/17; CNN 6/14/17; Tuscon News 6/14/17; Washington Post 6/14/17; The Daily Beast 6/14/17; Slate 6/14/17