ATF: Congressional shooter used 9 mm handgun, 7.62 caliber rifle

Federal officials said the man who shot a congressman and four others this week at a baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia used a 7.62 caliber rifle, according to a statement released Thursday.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said the shooter, 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson, of Belleville, Illinois, bought the rifle and a 9mm handgun found at the Eugene Simpson Stadium Park from a federally-licensed firearms dealer.

“We currently have no evidence to suggest that the purchases were not lawful,” the agency said in the joint statement with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Hodgkinson opened fire Wednesday morning on more than two dozen congressional Republicans and staffers practicing at the park in preparation for a charity baseball game scheduled Thursday. Witnesses report Hodgkinson fired more than 50 rounds across field, striking two staffers, two Capitol Hill police officers and the third highest ranking House GOP member, Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise.

A security detail accompanied Scalise to the field that morning — a factor many lawmakers at the scene insist saved their lives.

Hodgkinson died at a nearby hospital Wednesday morning after a firefight with both Capitol Hill and Alexandria law enforcement.

Investigation into his background continues.

“The FBI has processed the shooter’s vehicle, a white conversion van, which was parked in the parking lot of the YMCA directly adjacent to the park where the shooting took place,” the FBI said Thursday. “From that vehicle, the FBI has recovered and is processing a cell phone, a computer, and a camera.”

The statement continued, “We continue to seek information on any encounters the public may have had with him in his home state of Illinois or in Alexandria, Virginia, where law enforcement believe he has been staying since March 2017.”

Hodgkinson, a home inspector, moved to Alexandria two months ago, his wife told the Huffington Post Wednesday. He was a dedicated Bernie Sanders supporter who despised the Republican party and former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and had a violent arrest record including charges for domestic battery, criminal damage of property and reckless discharge of a firearm.

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