Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said he was “sickened” after a gunman, who he said “apparently volunteered” on his presidential campaign, opened fire on Republican lawmakers Wednesday during a congressional baseball practice.
Sanders denounced the shooting rampage at a baseball field in Alexandria, Va., that sent five people to the hospital, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and the suspect, Alexandria police said at a press conference late Wednesday morning. Two Capitol police officers also sustained non-life-threatening injuries in the shootout, U.S. Capitol Police Chief Matthew Verderosa said.
“I have just been informed that the alleged shooter at the Republican baseball practice is someone who apparently volunteered on my presidential campaign,” Sanders said in a statement. “I am sickened by this despicable act.”
The suspected gunman, identified by the Associated Press as James Hodgkinson, died from his injuries after a gun battle with U.S. Capitol Police officers, President Donald Trump said. Hodgkinson, a 66-year-old business owner in Illinois, had worked on Sanders’s presidential campaign in Iowa, according to the Washington Post, which cited another campaign volunteer who knew the suspected shooter.
Hodgkinson appeared to be a “quiet guy” who was “very mellow, very reserved,” at least on the campaign trail, Charles Orear told the newspaper.
Sanders said violence “is unacceptable in our society.” “I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms,” he added. “Real change can only come about through nonviolent action, and anything else runs against our most deeply held American values.”