Ohio Legislator Reveals That Shooting of Steve Scalise was Labeled “Suicide by Cop” by FBI

Capitol Police Special Agents Crystal Griner (left) and David Bailey (right) assist U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise to second base in 2018 / AP Images

When Representative Steve Scalise (R-La.) was shot by a left-wing Bernie Sanders supporter on June 14, 2017, at a baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, a Democrat, as well Alexandria’s top prosecutor Bryan Porter, were quick to label the event what it was: an act of terrorism.

How odd to learn that the lead investigative agency for the crime, the FBI, had the gall to label the shooting a “suicide by cop.” Representative Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) revealed the FBI’s absurd conclusion during a back and forth with current FBI Director Christopher Wray, at a hearing of the House Intelligence Committee last Thursday.

According to Wenstrup, the FBI briefed the members of the Republican baseball team in November 2017.

“Much to our shock that day, the FBI concluded that this was a case of the attacker seeking suicide by cop,” Wenstrup told Wray. “Director, you want suicide by cop, you just pull a gun on a cop. It doesn’t take 136 rounds. It takes one bullet. Both DHS and (the Office of the Director of National Intelligence) published products labeling this attack a domestic violent extremist event, specifically targeting Republican members of Congress. The FBI did not.”

Wray chose not to answer Wenstrup’s critique directly, except to thank the congressman, who is a doctor, for using his skills to help with the triage efforts for Scalise and the others who were injured.

Scalise’s injuries were the most serious that day, but he was not the only one injured by the leftist attacker. Matt Mika, a lobbyist and former Republican aide, was shot in the chest and arm with injuries to his lungs, sternum, and ribs. Capitol Police Officer Crystal Briner was shot in the ankle, and Zack Barth, an aide to Congressman Roger Williams (R-Texas) was shot in the calf.

The gunman, James Hodgkinson, was 66 years old and hailed from Bellevue, Illinois. He was an unabashed Sanders supporter, and his social media posts at the time displayed a hatred of then-president Donald Trump, as well as Republicans in general.

“Trump is a traitor. Trump has destroyed our Democracy. It’s time to destroy Trump and co.,” Hodgkinson posted on Facebook.

Another Hodgkinson post read: “Republicans are the Taliban of the USA.”

According to observers of the shooting, who were at the field that day, including then-representatives Ron DeSantis (now the Florida governor) and Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), a man had approached them and asked which team was practicing that morning. DeSantis and Duncan would later identify the man as Hodgkinson, who returned approximately half an hour into the practice and began firing his SKS Russian-made rifle at the participants on the field.

The shootout lasted approximately 10 minutes, during which Hodgkinson traded fire with three Capitol Police officers who were also there.

It was reported that during the shootout, Hodgkinson took cover behind the third base dugout. If he was committing suicide by cop, why take cover?

Even Democrats in attendance at the hearing supported Wenstrup’s criticism of the FBI.

“I actually would like to associate my — your comments with my interest in wanting to pursue that as well, Dr. Wenstrup,” said Representative Jackie Speier (D-Calif.)

“I’d like to second Dr. Wenstrup’s questions on the near massacre of our colleagues in 2017,” said Representative Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.). So I, like my colleague, Jackie Speier, have a particular interest in that.”

Scalise himself bashed the FBI’s preposterous classification of the terrorist act on Twitter: “I was shot by a deranged Leftist who came to the baseball field with a list of Congressional Republicans to kill. This was NOT “suicide by cop.” End of story.

Perhaps the only reason no one was ultimately killed was because of the three Capitol Police officers, who were there ironically to protect Scalise. As Scalise was serving as the House Majority Whip at the time, he rated a security detail. Two of the officers were injured in the incident, with one of them, Crystal Griner, shot by Hodgkinson. Hodgkinson was ultimately neutralized by Alexandria police. Many at the baseball practice credited those officers with saving their lives.

Wenstrup’s revelation is the first time the FBI’s conclusion about the shooting was made public. The FBI itself never announced their decision in the matter.

The FBI is supposed to be an elite law enforcement agency whose mission is to “protect the American people and uphold the Constitution of the United States.” How can it boast of such a high and lofty mission when its leaders can’t even classify an obvious act of domestic terrorism properly?

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