GOP lawmaker demands review over FBI saying baseball shooting was 'suicide by cop'

GOP lawmaker demands review over FBI saying baseball shooting was 'suicide by cop'
© Getty Images

An Ohio lawmaker is seeking a review of the FBI’s investigation into the 2017 shooting of Republican lawmakers as they practiced for a congressional baseball game, arguing the bureau erred in its conclusion that the shooter sought “suicide by cop.”

The call comes from Rep. Brad WenstrupBrad Robert Wenstrup20 years later: Washington policymakers remember 9/11 House approves select panel to probe Jan. 6 attack Overnight Defense: Biden, Putin agree to launch arms control talks at summit | 2002 war authorization repeal will get Senate vote | GOP rep warns Biden 'blood with be on his hands' without Afghan interpreter evacuation MORE (R-Ohio), one of the lawmakers on the field in June 2017 when a shooter opened fire on the practice, shooting four people and seriously wounding House Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseOSHA faces big challenge with Biden vaccine mandate Overnight Health Care — Nicki Minaj stokes uproar over vaccines Republicans ask FDA for details on any White House pressure on boosters MORE (R-La.).

The FBI briefed lawmakers a few months after the incident that shooter, who supported left-wing causes on social media and inquired about the political affiliation of those on the field, was largely carried out as a suicide attempt. But their conclusion was never made public.

ADVERTISEMENT

In a letter dated last week but released to reporters Wednesday, Wenstrup criticized the FBI’s conclusion.

“This conclusion defies logic and contradicts the publicly known facts about the perpetrator and the attack. The shooter had an extensive social media record highlighting his hatred of President TrumpDonald TrumpOhio Republican who voted to impeach Trump says he won't seek reelection Youngkin breaks with Trump on whether Democrats will cheat in the Virginia governor's race Trump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race MORE and Republicans,” Wenstrup wrote.

“He was heavily armed, sought cover during the shooting, well over 100 rounds were fired, and the attacker could not have known that then-Majority Whip Steve Scalise’s security detail was present given that they were in an undercover vehicle and in plain clothes. All these facts are inconsistent with a designation of ‘suicide by cop,’ ” he wrote.

The letter, which was first reported by Politico, asked the FBI’s counterterrorism division to review the findings. Wenstrup also said the FBI never formally interviewed any lawmakers as witnesses.

The FBI did not respond to request for comment.

ADVERTISEMENT

Other Republicans present on the field that day shared Wenstrup’s frustration with the FBI’s conclusion.

“We were furious about it,” Rep. Barry LoudermilkBarry LoudermilkOn The Money — Yellen sounds alarm on national default GOP lawmakers urge Cardona against executive student loan wipeout House GOP stages mask mandate protest MORE (R-Ga.) told The Hill Wednesday. “But it went nowhere.”

“The guy had an assassination list in his pocket, he asked [Rep.] Jeff DuncanJeffrey (Jeff) Darren DuncanNoem to travel to South Carolina for early voting event OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Supreme Court rules that pipeline can seize land from New Jersey | Study: EPA underestimated methane emissions from oil and gas development | Kevin McCarthy sets up task forces on climate, other issues GOP lawmaker demands review over FBI saying baseball shooting was 'suicide by cop' MORE beforehand, ‘Are these Democrats or Republicans,’ he was a radicalized Bernie SandersBernie SandersBriahna Joy Gray: Push toward major social spending amid pandemic was 'short-lived' Sanders 'disappointed' in House panel's vote on drug prices Manchin keeps Washington guessing on what he wants MORE supporter,” he said.

Loudermilk went on to describe shooter James Hodgkinson as pivoting between firing at lawmakers and the Capitol Police officers who were drawing fire away from them.

“That's not what somebody does when they just want to die,” Loudermilk said.

Wenstrup asked about the FBI’s determination in a little-noticed exchange with Director Christopher Wray last week during a House Intelligence Committee hearing.  

Wray responded that he had not been FBI director at the time of the “horrific, horrific attack at that baseball field on that day.”

Wray did not, however, commit to reviewing the conclusion.

“I have been committed since I started this job to making sure that the FBI does the right thing in the right way. And I've tried to instill that message to everything we do,” he said.

Scott Wong contributed.