Congressional baseball shooter penned Facebook rant against Karen Handel

Court records show the shooter also had been arrested at least twice for violent crimes.

ATLANTA - Accused congressional baseball practice gunman James Hodgkinson penned a rant on social media that excoriated 6th Congressional District Republican candidate Karen Handel last week.

In the post, Hodgkinson reposted a Yahoo article about comments made by Handel during a debate with her Democratic opponent Jon Ossoff last week, along with a one-line comment referring to Handel with a profane term.

"Republican S*** Wants People to Work for Slave Wages, when a Livable Wage is the Only Way to Go! Vote Blue, It's Right for You!"

The article, headlined, "'Georgia GOP candidate for U.S. House: 'I do not support a livable wage'," ties to comments made by Handel during the first debate between she and Ossoff on Sunday, June 4.

Hodgkinson's rant against Handel fits along with other posts of his, castigating Republicans and imploring readers to vote for Democratic candidates.

Handel released this statement Wednesday afternoon:

My thoughts are with the victims of this morning's despicable, unprovoked attack on the Republican congressional softball team. Representative Scalise is a friend, and my heart goes out to him and his family. Steve and I wish him and the others wounded a speedy recovery. They remain in our thoughts and prayers.

I also want to commend the heroic actions of the Capitol Police officers who clearly prevented today's attack from being a much bigger tragedy.

I am aware that the suspect recently made vile comments about me on social media. It also appears that the suspect targeted members of congress specifically because he disagreed with their views. 

We should not allow our political differences to escalate to violent attacks. We must all refuse to allow the politics of our country to be defined in this way. Now more than ever, we must unite as a one nation under God. It is incumbent upon all of us to work together in a civil and productive way, even when we disagree.

Jon Ossoff, who is running against Handel in the 6th District runoff, held a moment of silence with volunteers and staff at a campaign headquarters Wednesday morning. 

He called the posted rant against Handel "sickening". 

"I condemn this appalling act of violence committed obviously by a disturbed individual, and our country is united in our prayers for those who are fighting for their lives," Ossoff said. 

RELATED | Gunman identified in congressional baseball practice shooting 

There were reports of multiple shots fired in Alexandria, Virginia Wednesday morning at a gathering of Congressional Republicans who were practicing for an annual baseball game. A total of five people have been wounded including the U.S. Majority Whip Steve Scalise, two security officers, one staffer and the gunman.

According to Chief Mike Brown of the Alexandria Police Department, reports of an active shooter was called in at around 7:10 a.m. Wednesday. Units were at the scene in three minutes and officers received fire from the suspect. Officers returned fire and shot the suspect. EMS was called to the scene and transported five people to local hospitals.

The suspect has been identified as 66-year-old James Hodgkinson and was shot and killed due to injuries he sustained in the gunfight.

© 2017 WXIA-TV


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