Rep. Davis: ‘This could be the first political rhetorical terrorist attack’

The shooting at a GOP congressional baseball practice Wednesday could have been motivated by heightened partisanship, a Republican congressman who survived the attack told CNN.

“This could be the first political rhetorical terrorist attack and that has to stop,” Rep. Rodney Davis told CNN’s Brianna Keilar.

Rep. Steve Scalise, was among those shot in Alexandria, Virginia. Scalise was later said to be in stable condition and undergoing surgery, and President Donald Trump announced late Wednesday morning that the alleged shooter — identified by federal law enforcement sources as James Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Illinois — was killed in the incident.

Authorities did not immediately reveal why Hodgkinson allegedly opened fire. But Davis attributed the motives of the gunman to heightened partisanship in the current political climate.

“This hatefulness that we see in this country today over policy differences has got to stop,” he said.

“I believe that there’s such a hatefulness in what we see in American politics and policy discussions right now. This has got to stop.”

He added, “We can disagree on how to govern. That’s what makes our country great, but I’m here because we’re all Americans.”

Davis said he and some fellow lawmakers fled the scene after hearing the gunshots.

“We took off down the street and a good Samaritan let us into his apartment so we could call 911 and then also call my family,” he said.

Davis, who was at bat at the time of the shooting, said he hopes Wednesday marks a turning point in how lawmakers engage in the future.

“Republicans and Democrats need to use this day today to stand together and say stop,” he said. “Let’s work together and get things done. We can have our differences, but let’s not let it lead to such hate.”