After gunmen James Hodgkinson opened fire at a Republican baseball practice in Virginia, a New York congresswoman received a threatening email entitled “One down, 216 to go”.
Claudia Tenney, representative from the Utica area in upstate New York, received the message on Wednesday only hours after her fellow House Republican Steve Scalise, from Louisiana, was shot in Alexandria, not far from the White House.
Tenney told the New York Daily she was already in shock over the shooting of her colleagues at a baseball practice.
“Did you NOT expect this? When you take away ordinary peoples very lives in order to pay off the wealthiest among us, your own lives are forfeit,” the email from an unidentified person read.
“Certainly, your souls and morality were lost long before. Good riddance.”
The FBI is investigating the shooting and possible motives, including the social media of the shooter, a Bernie Sanders and Daily Show supporter as well as leftist Trump-hater.
Accounts appearing to belong to the 66-year-old Hodgkinson showed violence-prone political posts against Republicans and in support of far-leftist conspiracy theories about Russia, a favourite mainstream media focus.
Tenney’s office told the Daily News that threatening emails are nothing new, but that this one was “particularly disturbing and disheartening” so soon after the Alexandria shooting.
“The level of discourse in politics today is truly unfortunate,” Tenney’s spokeswoman Hannah Andrews remarked.
“Our nation was founded on the principle of free speech, and it’s vitally important that we have a robust debate on the issues. However, protections under the first amendment do not extend to violence.”
Tenney also thanked the police for responding to the shooting that otherwise could have turned into a massacre.
The injured Republican congressman Scalise, remains in a critical condition. He was one of six people injured in the attack, including a Capitol Police officer, a congressional staffer as well as a lobbyist.
A second police officer also received non-gunshot injuries in the haste to flee from their attacker.
Two Congressmen, Rep. Jeff Duncan and Rep. Ron DeSantis, said a man approached them to ask if those practicing were “Republicans or Democrats” before the shooting. DeSantis confirmed that Hodgkinson was the man who had approached him, CNBC reported.
Alexandria Police Chief Michael Brown confirmed that his officers and Capitol Police officers exchanged fire with the gunman in a statement.
His brother, Michael, told the New York Times. Michael Hodgkinson that James had gone to Washington DC “totally out of the blue”, but on March 22 he wrote, “Trump is a Traitor. Trump Has Destroyed Our Democracy. It’s Time to Destroy Trump & Co.”
Hodgkinson had campaigned for Sanders in Iowa during the Democratic presidential nomination last year, the Washington Post reported.
In June 2015 he wrote, “The Opposite of a Liberal Progressive is a Bigoted Racist that wants the Rich to get Richer at the expense of the 99%…..Republicans are so Stupid….”
Meanwhile a New Jersey Democrat is calling for the murder of conservatives and “rich people” by using the hashtags #HuntRepublicans and #HuntRepublicanCongressmen on social media.
James Devine, a consultant to the Democratic Party, began inciting his followers to “hunt” Republicans, tweeting, “We are in a war with selfish, foolish & narcissistic rich people. Why is it a shock when things turn violent? #HuntRepublicanCongressmen”.
“I have little sympathy for the Republican Congressman who got shot today because he viciously opposed President Obama’s effort to reduce gun violence and instead, he accepted more gun lobby money than all but 15 other members of the House of Representatives,” Devine tweeted.
In Paris, a French conservative politician was punched in the face by an attacker and lost consciousness at a market while handing out leaflets ahead of Sunday’s parliamentary election.
Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, 44, a former environment minister was taken to hospital, her campaign team said.
The politician was pictured lying on the ground following the attack, the British Daily Mail reported.