U.S. News

Virginia shooter created list of six congressmen, but FBI stops short of calling it a hit list

Key Points
  • The FBI found Virginia shooter James Hodgkinson kept a list of six congressmen, but said there was no threat.
  • Hodgkinson had been in the Alexandria area since March.
Democrats and Republicans gather at second base for a prayer prior to the start of the Congressional baseball game with the house chaplain leading the way on June 15, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Jonathan Newton | The Washington Post | Getty Images

James Hodgkinson, the shooter at the Republican congressional baseball team practice last week, kept a list of six members of Congress, the FBI said in a news conference Wednesday.

Timothy Slater, special agent in charge of the criminal division for the Washington field office, would not classify it as a hit list, saying it was only "a piece of paper."

"If you look at his pattern of life and what he was doing on his laptop and social media accounts, there was no indication that that was a list to target or that there were any threats associated with those names on the list," Slater said.

At this point in the investigation, it is "unclear" what the significance of the names are, Slater said, but the probe is close to solving it. He declined to comment on whether the names were Republicans or Democrats.

Authorities found the list in a storage locker Hodgkinson had rented in Alexandria, Virgina, since April. Inside, they also found 200 rounds of ammunition, a laptop, a receipt from a gun purchase in November 2016 and SKS rifle components. Hodgkinson had visited the unit 43 times between April and June.

The morning of the shooting, Hodgkinson carried a 7.62 mm caliber SKS rifle and a 9 mm handgun, both of which were purchased legally through federal firearms licensees in November 2016, authorities said.

Investigators did not find any threats to members of Congress on Hodgkinson's social media accounts, though he frequently posted about his disdain for Republicans, Slater said. The FBI is investigating the shooting at a congressional baseball practice last week as an assault on a member of Congress and an assault on a federal officer.

The news conference came one week after the incident that left five people wounded. Authorities earlier had identified the shooter as Hodgkinson, 66, from Belleville, Illinois, who had a history of arrests and assaults.

That morning, Hodgkinson used Google Maps to search for a route from Alexandria to his home in Belleville. He also ran a Google search for the "2017 Republican Convention," accessed a financial account and one of his Facebook accounts, where he looked up news highlights.

Hodgkinson had not been diagnosed with any mental illness, Slater said, but he was known to have an anger management problem. He had been in the Alexandria area since March, according to evidence.

Rep. Duncan: I assume shooter was targeting Republicans

The day of the shooting, South Carolina Republican Rep. Jeff Duncan told CNBC that a man approached he and Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., as they were leaving practice for the Republican baseball team ahead of the annual Congressional Baseball Game.

Duncan said the man asked them whether the Democratic or Republican team was practicing on the field. DeSantis later told CNBC that the pair saw pictures of Hodgkinson and believe it was the same person who stopped them with the question.