Survivors of the 2017 shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., on Friday ripped the FBI for reportedly ruling that the incident was a form of “suicide by cop” and not politically motivated, with Scalise himself calling the agency’s conclusion “disturbing.”
Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, last week said during a House Intelligence Committee meeting with FBI Director Christopher Wray that agency officials told him and other legislators that the shooting, which occurred at a practice session for the congressional GOP baseball team, was the suspect’s way of committing “suicide by cop,” and asked Wray to publicly declare the incident an act of terrorism. Wenstrup later sent the FBI a letter asking for a review.
After the FBI told aides and others in attendance that they had determined the attack was “suicide by cop,” “We all said that’s not accurate,” Matt Mika, a lobbyist for Tyson Foods who acts as a coach for the team and was wounded in the shooting, told Fox News.
He added that there was minimal police presence in the area, with then-House Majority Whip Scalise having a security detail that included plainclothes officers who were sitting in an unmarked vehicle at the time.
“He went there to kill Republicans, and he had a list of Republicans in his pocket,” Scalise told Fox News this week. “He specifically asked if that was the Republican practice before he went back and got his guns and came out. He didn’t know the security detail with me were cops, because they were plainclothes officers.”
He went on to say that the FBI’s conclusion was “disturbing.”
“And it’s not fair to the police officers who were involved that day, both Capitol Police, as well as the Virginia police, who acted bravely and heroically doing their jobs,” Scalise said.
“The truth is this guy had a list in his pocket with Republican members of Congress listed on it and basically had a people to kill list,” Ryan Thompson, the former chief of staff to then-Rep. Joe Barton who was standing next to Mika when that shooting started, told Fox News on Thursday. “That’s not suicide by cop. That’s an attempted assassination.”
He added, “This guy seemed to have unlimited ammunition. He was doing magazine changes… another example of how this wasn’t a suicide by cop. He was there to inflict a maximum amount of pain and death.”
Thompson said that the shooter “was, in his elderly, civilian way, moving tactically, avoiding fire,” from police. “He wasn’t stepping out into the open and letting the cops take their shots.”
Scalise said, “He was trying to kill them like he was trying to kill us. He was trying to kill the police so that he could kill the rest of us. And there is no logic behind the classification of suicide by cop. It’s not accurate.”
The FBI declined to comment to Fox News, though a spokesperson confirmed earlier this week that the agency had received Wenstrup’s request for review.
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