Virginia shooting: Trump-hating man killed after opening fire on Republicans

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Donald Trump
Donald Trump speaks at election night rally in Manhattan, New York, US November 9, 2016. Reuters/Mike Segar

A gunman opened fire on Republican politicians during a baseball practice in Virginia on Wednesday, leaving five people injured. The suspect, identified as James Hodgkinson, had posted abusive rants against US President Donald Trump on the Internet. He was killed after the rampage.

The 66-year-old man from Illinois injured House Whip Steve Scalise and four others. Following the congressional baseball practice attack, allegations had surfaced saying the incident was connected to left-wing rhetoric as the shooter was reportedly anti-Republican and a Bernie Sanders supporter.

Two Facebook pages are believed to have been managed by Hodgkinson. One of these pages has a banner picture of Bernie Sanders, while the other one contains anti-Trump rants.

“I want to say Mr. President, for being an *ss hole, you are truly the biggest *ss hole we have ever had in the Oval office,” a post on June 12 reads. Another status posted on March 22 says that Trump is a traitor who destroys democracy. Hodgkinson also belonged to a Facebook group called “Terminate the Republican Party.”

Sanders has already reacted to the news. According to the senator, he has already been informed that the shooter at the Republican baseball practice was a volunteer during his presidential campaign.

Politically motivated attack

The attack is believed to be politically motivated. Congressman Ron DeSantis told reporters that Hodgkinson approached him and his Republican colleague Jeff Duncan before he started shooting.  “A gentleman walked up to us and wanted to know whether there were Republicans or Democrats practising out there,” he told CNN.

According to DeSantis, when Duncan answered that Republicans were in the field, the gunman immediately turned around and went towards them. The congressman explained that while he did not think the man would commit acts of violence, he was “not really a friendly guy.”

Officials admitted that it was too early to determine the motive of the gunman. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is reportedly looking into his alleged anti-Trump Facebook posts.

Meanwhile, Hodgkinson’s brother Michael said he was angry over Trump's victory as president, even travelling to Washington to protest. “I know he wasn’t happy with the way things were going, the election results and stuff,” he told The New York Times.

Hodgkinson had a history of violence, notes. In 2006, he was accused of punching a woman and pointing a gun at her boyfriend. The charges, however, were later dismissed.

UPS shooting 

UPDATED (1:31 pm AEST). Meanwhile, a United Parcel Service employee has opened fire and killed three people before shooting himself on Wednesday. UPS confirmed the incident involving its employees within the company’s facility in San Francisco. Local law enforcement took control of the facility, and investigation is currently being conducted. 

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