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Virginia mass-shooting suspect identified as 66-year-old Illinois man

WASHINGTON -- Law enforcement has identified the man who opened fire on a group of Republican lawmakers Wednesday morning as James Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois, according to a federal law enforcement sources.

Hodgkinson is 66. In a news conference at about 8:30 a.m., President Donald Trump said that the shooter had been killed by police.

In posts on Hodgkinson's Facebook page, the suspect identifies himself as a Bernie Sanders supporter. Many of his posts criticize President Trump. 

Before the gunman opened fire at the GOP congressional baseball practice , he asked a congressman at the event, US Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-South Carolina, whether Democrats or Republicans were playing there, Duncan said. Duncan said photos he's seen of the gunman on TV and online are those of the man he talked to.

Authorities have not speculated on a motive for the shootings.

Hodgkinson owned a home inspection business. His license expired in November 2016 and was not renewed, state records show.

Belleville police and the FBI are at Hodgkinson's home in rural Belleville Wednesday morning.  They are telling media to standby for an update.  They are asking reporters to remain at a distance as they investigate.

The Washington Post talked to an acquaintance of Hodgkinson.  He tells them that they went to Iowa to campaign for Senator Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign. Hodgkinson is described as a "passionate progressive" and showed no signs of violence.

James Hodgkinson (Facebook)

Sen. Bernie Sanders issued this statement about the shooting: “Our prayers go out for a full recovery of Rep. Scalise, the congressional aides and police officers who were injured. We’ve got to stop the violence.”

The St. Clair County prosecutor says Hodgkinson has an arrest record.  It is not very extensive.  He was involved a shoving match.  The 2006 case was dismissed after the alleged victim didn't show up for the court hearing.  In 2011 he was also involved in a traffic accident.

Rep. Steve Scalise, a congressional staffer and members of the congressional police force were shot Wednesday morning in Alexandria, Virginia, in what sources are calling an apparent "deliberate attack."

Scalise, the third ranking member of House Republican leadership as the majority whip, appeared to have been shot in the hip and it appeared two Capitol Hill police agents were shot, according to Rep. Mo Brooks, who told CNN he was on deck when the shooting occurred.

As of 9:45 a.m. ET, Scalise was in stable condition but undergoing surgery, according to a statement from his office.

"Prior to entering surgery, the whip was in good spirits and spoke to his wife by phone," the statement said. "He is grateful for the brave actions of U.S. Capitol Police, first responders and colleagues."

The shooting took place at a practice for the GOP congressional baseball team.

In a statement, Texas Rep. Roger Williams, one of the team's coaches, said one of his staff members was shot during the incident and is receiving medical attention. There was no information on the staffer's injuries.

According to both congressional and law enforcement sources, the shooting appears to be a "deliberate attack."

Two law enforcement sources told CNN the shooter, who is in police custody, has been taken to a hospital.

Members of Congress were practicing for a game that was scheduled for Thursday night at Nationals Park. It was not immediately clear whether it would go on as scheduled. The annual game has been played since 1909.

Lawmakers describe a chaotic scene

Lawmakers who spoke at the scene to reporters described a normal morning practice, at a field where they've practiced for years, when all of a sudden shots rang out. Lawmakers, staff members and even the young son of one of the members ran for cover, jumping into dugouts and over fences to avoid the gunshots.

Members described Scalise dragging himself roughly 15 yards away from second base, where he had been playing, and lying there until the shooter was neutralized, at which point some of them ran to assist him and apply pressure to the wound until he could be evacuated. Once they were able, Sen. Jeff Flake said he and Rep. Brad Wenstrup, who is a physician, went out to where Scalise was lying to apply pressure to the wound. Scalise was coherent the whole time, Flake said.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul told CNN "it would have been a massacre" without Capitol Hill Police.

"Nobody would have survived without the Capitol Hill police," Paul said on CNN. "It would have been a massacre without them."

"We had nothing but baseball bats to fight back against a rifle with," Brooks said.

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake added that he saw a member of Scalise's security detail return fire on the gunman for what felt like 10 minutes, even though the police officer was wounded in the leg.

"50 (shots) would be an understatement, I'm quite sure," Flake said when asked about the total amount of gunfire, including police returning fire.

Flake said two members of Scalise's security detail were wounded, and another man was wounded in the chest.

Brooks said the shooter appeared to be a white male but added that "I saw him for a second or two." He said the shooter was behind the third base dugout and didn't say anything.

"The gun was a semiautomatic," Brooks said, adding that he was sure it was a rifle but unsure what kind. "It continued to fire at different people. You can imagine, all the people on the field scatter."