Law enforcement officials held a news conference outlining the agency’s findings regarding the shooting at the Republican team’s final practice during the annual Congressional Baseball Game that occurred at the Eugene Simpson Stadium Park on Wednesday, June 14, 2017.
What had appeared to be a premeditated political assassination based on the fact that a note was found of potential victims by the murderer, according to the FBI, was -“Just a piece of paper with 6 congressional names on it.”
James T. Hodgkinson, the shooter, opened fire on dozens of Republican congressmen and had a list that was written out on notepad paper that was found in the shooter’s pocket, according to multiple sources with intimate knowledge of the situation, who spoke on condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the investigation, Truth Uncensored reported.
The FBI held a press conference on Wednesday to give an update on the investigation into the shooting of Republican members of Congress during a baseball practice one week ago, The Independent Journal review reports.
But amid the news that the attack wasn’t terrorism and that James Hodgkinson worked alone, there was one statement by FBI Special Agent in Charge Timothy Slater that left a lot of people — including reporters — asking, “Did I just hear him right?”
Slater confirmed that Hodgkinson was found with a hand written list of names. It’s been widely reported that this was in fact a list of other potential victims by the would-be murderer:
“On the shooter, we found a piece of paper that contained the names of six members of Congress.
A reporter asked Slater if this was a “hit list.” And here’s where it gets interesting:
“No, ma’am I would not classify it as a hit list. It’s more of a piece of paper with six Congressional names on it.”
FBI: Wont say which 6 members of Congress were on piece of paper Hodgkinson, and wouldn't say it was a "hit list." pic.twitter.com/jtv8C3kFuD
— Neal Augenstein (@AugensteinWTOP) June 21, 2017
His answer was greeted with such skepticism that another reporter asked:
“When they hear that he was very critical of Republicans, that he purchased these guns after the November election, and he came out here hoping to make changes on tax reform, why is it that you’re not prepared to call this a “hit list,” if you will?”
Slater said that given the totality of the situation, he wasn’t prepared to say that the shooter was planning to go after the Congressional members on the list:
“If you look at his pattern in life and what he was doing on his laptop and social media accounts there’s no indication it was a list of targets or that there were any threats associated with those names on the list.”
The media weren’t the only ones questioning the statement by the FBI:
@realDonaldTrump WHY WLD THE FBI SAY WE SHOULD NOT TAKE THE SHOOTERS "LIST" AS A "HIT"LIST😡DO THEY THINK HE WAS GONNA BUY EM A CUP OF COFFEE
— birdie (@BirdieOiseau53) June 17, 2017
Slater refused to characterize the significance of the names, if any person’s whose name was on the list was present at the Virginia baseball practice field where the shooting occurred, or if the names shared anything in common in addition to being members of Congress, such as if they were all Republicans.
He replied, “We’re getting close to that answer.”
The Daily Caller has released the names on what it reports is a “hit list”:
The list of names included Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks, South Carolina Rep. Jeff Duncan and Arizona Rep. Trent Franks, TheDC has confirmed. Fox News reported after this story that Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, Tennessee Rep. Scott DesJarlais and Virginia Rep. Morgan Griffith are also on the list. All six congressmen are members of the House Freedom Caucus, which contains the lower chamber’s most conservative members.
Brooks was at the baseball practice on the day of the shooting.
Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) was shot in the hip and nearly died from his wounds. On Wednesday, one week after the shooting, he was listed as improving:
— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) June 21, 2017
Two Capitol Police officers and a congressional aide were also wounded in the attack.
Slater told reporters that Hodgkinson’s laptop contained only “cursory searches of two of those members” whose names were on the list.
The FBI agent confirmed that the shooter, whose social media made plain that he hated Donald Trump and Republicans, had, during his short time in the Washington area, visited the Capitol on a tour. But he only dropped in on one member. The shooter visited the office of a man whom he greatly admired and for whom he’d once volunteered: Sen. Bernie Sanders.