ATLANTA, Ga – The gunman who opened fire at a Republican Congressional baseball practice posted rants on social media about Georgia 6th Congressional District Republican candidate Karen Handel.
On Facebook, gunman James Hodgkinson shared a Yahoo news article about comments Handel made during a debate on WSB-TV with Democratic opponent Jon Ossoff adding “Republican B***** Wants People to Work for Slave Wages, when a Livable Wage is the Only Way to Go! Vote Blue, It’s Right for You!”
Handel tweeted Wednesday that she and her husband were sending “our thoughts & prayers to Rep. Scalise, Capitol Police, staff, & everyone affected by this horrific attack this morning in VA.” She later released the following statement on her Facebook page:
“My thoughts are with the victims of this morning’s despicable, unprovoked attack on the Republican congressional softball team. Representative Scalise is a friend, and my heart goes out to him and his family. Steve and I wish him and the others wounded a speedy recovery. They remain in our thoughts and prayers. I also want to commend the heroic actions of the Capitol Police officers who clearly prevented today’s attack from being a much bigger tragedy. I am aware that the suspect recently made vile comments about me on social media. It also appears that the suspect targeted members of congress specifically because he disagreed with their views. We should not allow our political differences to escalate to violent attacks. We must all refuse to allow the politics of our country to be defined in this way. Now more than ever, we must unite as a one nation under God. It is incumbent upon all of us to work together in a civil and productive way, even when we disagree.”
Handel canceled her public events for Wednesday night.
Ossoff also responded to Wednesday morning’s shooting calling it “shocking.” Ossoff’s initial comments were made to CBS Radio Atlanta’s Maria Boynton immediately after news broke of the shooting with him stating, “we’re praying for everyone hoping everyone pulls through.”
Ossoff later released the following statement:
“I condemn this appalling act of violence committed by a disturbed individual. The whole country is shaken as well as united in prayer for those fighting for their lives and in appreciation for the first responders and police for saving lives today. Despite our differences of opinion, Americans must redouble our commitments to national unity, civility, and the rule of law.”
Hodgkinson shot and wounded House Majority Whip Steve Scalise along with two officers and an aide during the Republican practice Wednesday. The 66-year-old shooter was shot by police and later died in a hospital.
House lawmakers plan to go ahead with the annual charity baseball game scheduled for Thursday June 15th at at Nationals Park in Washington, DC.
Handel and Ossof meet in the 6th congressional district runoff June 20th.