Shooter was a Sanders volunteer

The suspect who shot and wounded a U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Louisiana, and other Republicans June 14 was a follower of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and a former volunteer for his presidential campaign.

Authorities said James T. Hodgkinson started firing his rifle at a group of Republican politicians who were practicing for a charity baseball game in Alexandria, Virginia. He shot House Majority Whip Scalise and three others. All are expected to survive but Hodgkinson is dead.

“The alleged shooter at the Republican baseball practice this morning is someone who apparently volunteered on my presidential campaign,” said Sanders, one of the harshest critics of President Trump and the Republicans in Congress. “I am sickened by this despicable act.

“Let me be as clear as I can be. Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms.”

Hodgkinson, 66, is from Belleville, Illinois.  He was shot and killed by law enforcement officers.

Five people were taken to area hospitals, including Hodgkinson. A Capitol Hill aide and a female police officer were also shot and another police officer was also injured by fragments, according to news reports.

Rep. Rand Paul told Fox News “it would have been a massacre” if not for Capitol Hill Police who were present as part of Scalise’s security detail.

“We had no defense at all,” Paul said. “We are so lucky they were there. They saved everybody’s life.”

Rep. Mark Walker told NBC that the “gunman was there to kill as many Republican members as possible” but an official motive has not been announced.