FBI Changes Designation of Congressional Baseball Shooting

The FBI has reclassified the 2017 congressional baseball shooter as a “domestic violent extremist” after U.S. Rep. Brad Wenstrup and others complained, the Cincinnati Informer reports.

The FBI initially designated the Alexandria, Virginia, baseball field shooting that nearly killed Rep. Steve Scalise as “suicide by cop.” Wenstrup, a Cincinnati Republican, who was on the field that day said the FBI classification “defies logic.”

However, the Cincinnati Informer reported that FBI Director Christopher Wray called Wenstrup on May 14 to inform him the FBI would be changing the designation to “domestic violent extremism,” according to an email from the representative’s office.

The new designation is included in an official FBI report on domestic terrorism.

“Our intelligence and law enforcement apparatuses require accuracy, precision, and justice,” Wenstrup said in the email. “I’m encouraged that the FBI has updated its classification of that nearly catastrophic event to reflect the actual motives of the assailant, and I commend Director Wray for his oversight of that correction. I will continue to work with the Bureau toward investigating what led to the original ‘suicide by cop’ determination.”

A group of Republican lawmakers were practicing for a charity baseball game on June 14, 2017, the practice was almost over when the shooter, James Hodgkinson, 66, from Belleville, Illinois, fired well over 100 rounds at the congressmen and others present. Rep. Steve Scalise, of Louisiana, was severely injured in the shooting and nearly died and four others were injured. Hodgkinson was killed in the ensuing shootout with Capitol Police.

Survivors including Scalise and Westrup condemned the classification after it became public.

According to the report, at an April hearing, Wenstrup questioned Wray about how the FBI arrived at the initial designation of suicide by cop. Wenstrup detailed the shooter’s actions, saying he had a list in his pocket with the names of Republican Congressmen as well as their physical descriptions.

“Director, you want suicide by cop, you just pull a gun on a cop,” Wenstrup said at the time. “It doesn’t take 136 rounds. It takes one bullet.”


About Catherine Smith

Catherine Smith is a newcomer to Washington D.C. She met and married an American journalist and moved to D.C. from the U.K. She graduated with a B.A. in Graphics, Media, and Communications and worked in design and retail in the U.K.

Photo: FBI and other law enforcement officials inspect the crime scene after a shooting during a practice for the Republican congressional baseball game at Eugene Simpson Statium Park June 14, 2017 in Alexandria, Virginia. At least five people people including a top Republican congressman were wounded in a Washington suburb early Wednesday morning when a shooting erupted as they practiced for an annual baseball game between lawmakers. Senior congressman Steve Scalise was shot in the hip, according to fellow Republican lawmaker Mo Brooks who told CNN at least two law enforcement officers and one congressional staffer were also shot in the incident in Alexandria, Virginia. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

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