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‘I Can’t Believe He Did This,’ Wife of DC Gunman Says

  • VOA News

Police search the home of James Hodgkinson, who was identified by law enforcement as the gunman who opened fire on Republican U.S. lawmakers at a Washington-area baseball practice, in Belleville, Illinois, June 14, 2017.

The wife of the man who shot and wounded a top Republican congressman and several others at a baseball field outside Washington Wednesday said she saw no signs that her husband was planning any violence when he told her he was traveling to the nation’s capital earlier this year.

Sue Hodgkinson spoke to reporters Thursday outsider her Belleville, Illinois, home. She said her husband, 66-year-old James Hodgkinson, told her he was going to Washington because he wanted to work on tax policy.

Watch: D.C. Gunman's Wife: 'I Can't Believe He Did This'

His wife said she learned about the shootings Wednesday from a television reporter.

“I can’t believe he did this, I can’t believe,” she said, adding that her husband left for Washington in March, and she hadn’t seen him since then.

James Hodgkinson was killed in a gunfight with Capitol Police after the shootings.

When pressed, Sue Hodgkinson said she didn’t want to discuss her husband’s politics. He had been a vocal opponent of the Republican Party.

President Donald Trump speaks about the shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scales at a baseball practice, June 15, 2017, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington.
President Donald Trump speaks about the shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scales at a baseball practice, June 15, 2017, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington.

Scalize in critical condition

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday said Congressman Steve Scalise is “in some trouble” as he fights to recover from a gunshot wound sustained Wednesday in the surprise attack on Republican lawmakers at a baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia, just outside Washington.

“He’s a great fighter and he’s going to be OK, we hope,” the president said at the White House just hours after visiting Scalise at a Washington hospital.

Scalise remains in critical condition. He has had three surgeries so far. The hospital said Wednesday that Scalise “will require additional operations.”

As majority whip, Scalise is the third highest ranking congressman in the House of Representatives. He was wounded when the attacker armed with a rifle and a handgun fired on Republican lawmakers who were preparing for Thursday’s annual charity game against a team of Democrats.

Besides Scalise, the shooter also wounded Capitol Police officer Crystal Griner, along with a congressional aide and a lobbyist.

Hodgkinson’s weapons, a 9 mm handgun and a 7.62 mm caliber (.30-caliber) rifle, were recovered at the scene, according to a joint statement issued Thursday by the FBI and several state and local law enforcement agencies. The statement said the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives determined that Hodgkinson bought the guns from federally licensed dealers.

Injured aide Zach Barth (left) and Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas, also on crutches walk off the field before the congressional baseball game, June 15, 2017, in Washington. The annual GOP-Democrats baseball game raises money for charity.
Injured aide Zach Barth (left) and Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas, also on crutches walk off the field before the congressional baseball game, June 15, 2017, in Washington. The annual GOP-Democrats baseball game raises money for charity.

House back to normal business

At her weekly news conference, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said she was “personally heartbroken” over Scalise’s injuries. She later criticized “sanctimonious” Republicans, including some in Congress, who have suggested that heated rhetoric from the political left may be partially responsible for the attack.

The U.S. House of Representatives resumed normal business activities Thursday after sharply curtailing them following the shootings. Republican Congressman Gregg Harper gaveled in the session, and Republican Glenn Thompson delivered the first morning speech, as about 30 spectators watched from the visitors’ galleries.

The Congressional Baseball Game is a long-standing summer tradition in Washington, with teams of Republican and Democratic lawmakers competing on the ball field, even in recent years, when fractious political debates are the norm.

Authorities said Wednesday there was not yet a clear motive for the shooting, as the FBI investigated Hodgkinson’s associations and social media postings.

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