Scalise, GOP Lawmakers Call for New Baseball Shooting Probe

Scalise, GOP Lawmakers Call for New Baseball Shooting Probe steve scalise rides a motorized scooter after recovering from the congressional baseball shooting House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La. (Chris Kleponis/AP)

By Sandy Fitzgerald | Tuesday, 11 May 2021 02:14 PM

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., who was seriously wounded by a gunman while practicing for the Congressional Baseball Game in 2017, along with other GOP lawmakers who were on the field at the time of the attack, wants the FBI to reopen its investigation into the shooting and to revisit its conclusion shooter James Hodgkinson was seeking to commit "suicide by cop."

Scalise and the others wrote in a letter to the FBI they fear the agency's "inability or unwillingness to fully investigate this shooting as a matter of domestic extremism 4 years ago leaves a blind spot within the bureau in fully assessing risks we face today," The Hill reported.

The shooting returned to conversation in April, when Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, asked FBI Director Christoper Wray during a congressional hearing why Hodgkinson's political leanings were not considered more heavily during the FBI's investigation.

Hodgkinson, a strong supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., was shot and killed by police after he shot four people on the baseball field.

Republicans are bringing back up the issue while putting more pressure on the FBI to focus efforts on left-wing extremists as well as right-wing ones.

"Today, there is a heightened focus on violent domestic extremism in the United States," the lawmakers write in their letter to the FBI. "We all agree that violent extremism of any kind must be rooted out and addressed by our law enforcement agencies. But we cannot presume to understand the scope of this issue if our law enforcement agencies do not investigate all instances of extremism, regardless of motivating ideology, with equal vigor."

The FBI did not comment on the letter, which asks them to "review the FBI's findings of the 2017 attack, interview all witnesses who were present that morning, update the conclusions of the FBI's investigation, if warranted, and publicly release the findings."

The letter also asks for an investigation into the conclusion the attack was a "suicide by cop" incident and who was "behind that process and determination."

Wray, meanwhile, has said in congressional briefings held under former President Donald Trump and current President Joe Biden that white nationalism is a growing threat in the United States, and "within the domestic terrorism bucket, the category as a whole, racially motivated violent extremism is, I think, the biggest bucket within that larger group. And within the racially motivated violent extremist bucket, people subscribing to some kind of white supremacist-type ideology is certainly the biggest chunk of that."

Wenstrup also attempted to reopen the investigation in April, writing in another letter the FBI's determination about the baseball field shootings "defies logic and contradicts the publicly known facts about the perpetrator and the attack."

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