House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) on Wednesday hit back at the FBI allegedly ruling the 2017 shooting at a Republican baseball practice, which almost caused Scalise to die, as a “suicide by cop.”
“I was shot by a deranged Leftist who came to the baseball field with a list of Congressional Republicans to kill,” Scalise wrote, retweeting a Politico article about the FBI revelation. “This was NOT ‘suicide by cop.’ End of story.”
The article detailed how Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), a congressman who was on the Alexandria, Virginia baseball field during the June 14, 2017 shooting, during a House Intelligence Committee hearing on Thursday said the FBI privately informed lawmakers it determined the attack to be a “suicide by cop,” a label he said downplayed the gunman’s seemingly political motivation. This FBI determination had previously been undisclosed, with Wenstrup saying bureau agents privately briefed the baseball team on November 16, 2017 to deliver the controversial determination.
“Much to our shock that day, the FBI concluded that this was a case of the attacker seeking suicide by cop,” the Ohio Republican said to FBI Director Christopher Wray. “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.”
While Wray did not directly address Wenstrup’s criticism, aside from noting he wasn’t the FBI director at the time, Wray said he was grateful to Capitol Police and to Wenstrup, a doctor, who used his skills that day to triage wounded lawmakers and others who joined them. The Ohio congressman’s remarks are the first public references that the FBI ruled the shooting as a “suicide by cop.”
The bureau never publicly disclosed its final conclusions about the 2017 attack, according to Politico. A week following the shooting in an interim update, investigators said the shooter, James Hodgkinson, had made several social media posts supporting left-wing causes, “espousing anti-Republican views,” and backing candidates like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), but the FBI also mentioned that it couldn’t find evidence of threats to GOP lawmakers or the baseball team on the Hodgkinson’s devices.
Furthermore, according to that interim update, “The morning of the shooting, a witness reported Hodgkinson asking them, ‘Is this the Republican or Democrat baseball team?’ When the witness responded that it was a Republican event, Hodgkinson reportedly remained at the baseball field.”
That morning, the gunman fired dozens of shots at Republican lawmakers practicing for the annual congressional baseball game with two firearms. He nearly missed Mississippi Rep. Trent Kelly before striking Scalise in the hip. The Louisiana Republican almost bled to death on the field and had to receive a number of surgeries and spent weeks in the hospital before returning to Capitol Hill.
Other lawmakers, two of Scalise’s Capitol Police officers in his security detail, and a lobbyist were injured that day, too. Hodgkinson died from injuries shortly thereafter.
This isn’t the first time this week that Scalise brought up the 2017 shooting. On Monday, he blasted Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters (Calif.) for recent comments she made which Republicans have argued amount to inciting violence, saying, “I was shot because of this kind of dangerous rhetoric. Where is the outrage from Dems & the media? They need to condemn this.”
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @DouglasPBraff.