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Bi-Coastal Shootings: What We Know

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There were two more mass shootings today – one for each coast. Many, invariably, will blame the guns themselves. Some will blame social media, the election, the president, video games and anybody who doesn’t agree with them. We think this need to assign blame instead of taking responsibility is part of the (very complicated) issue. So instead of blaming anything or anybody, we’re going to do our best to give you brief, fact-based rundowns of each incident with sources quoted. Remember: Initial Reports are Always Wrong.

Congressional Baseball Practice: Alexandria, Virginia

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Around 7AM on Wednesday morning, Congressmen and their staff members were in Alexandria practicing for a charity baseball game. James T. Hodgkinson, a 65-year-old man from Illinois, opened fire on the practice session from just outside an adjacent YMCA. Several Capitol Police officers returned fire, killing Hodgkinson but four people were wounded: a Congressional staffer, a lobbyist, a Captiol Police officer and Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA). Rep. Scalise, the House majority whip, remains in critical condition as of this writing. He has received multiple blood transfusions and is undergoing several surgical procedures to repair internal damage. The weapon used has been identified as an SKS, and Scalise is said to have taken a single round through the left hip. Hodgkinson was a staunch liberal and avid supporter of Bernie Sanders who seems to have taken the election of President Trump particularly hard. Sometime after the election he left his hometown of Belleville, Il to travel to the Washington DC area. In the days leading up to the shooting, he was living in the back of his van and showering at an Alexandria YMCA. He also had a history of run-ins with the law including assault and battery – incidents that included threatening a teenage boy with a shotgun and striking him with it. Despite his record, family members and people who interacted with him describe Hodgkinson as “normal” “not a radical” and say that this attack came “out of the blue”.


UPS Facility: San Francisco, CA

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At approximately 9AM (12PM eastern, nearly 5 hours after the Virginia incident) Jimmy Lam opened fire at a San Francisco UPS facility near 17th and Vermont Streets. Lam was a UPS employee who had previously filed a grievance with the company for working excessive overtime. Beyond that, little is currently available about Lam’s record. He killed three fellow UPS drivers and wounded two others before committing suicide at the scene. The weapon is identified as a handgun, with no specific make/model/caliber confirmed at time of writing.


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