Anti-Trump gunman asks chilling question before rampage

gunmanA RIFLE-WIELDING man with an apparent deep hatred of US President Donald Trump has opened fire on Republican politicians at a baseball practice, injuring five people.

The shooter, who was killed after his gun rampage in the US state of Virginia, has been identified as James Hodgkinson, 66, of Illinois, who had posted a number of abusive anti-Trump rants on social media.

He shot the third-highest-ranking House Republican, whip Steve Scalise, and injured four others at the field just outside of Washington about 7am on Wednesday (9pm AEST).

He was shot and killed by one of the congressman’s security detail.

In a chilling detail that suggests the violent incident was politically motivated, congressman Ron DeSantis said the man approached him and his Republican colleague Jeff Duncan before the shooting and asked a chilling question.

“A gentleman walked up to us and wanted to know whether there were Republicans or Democrats practising out there,” Mr DeSantis told CNN.

“Congressman Duncan said that it was Republicans and then he immediately turned around and went towards the field.

“Once we got back to the Hill, we got word that there was a shooting.

“Immediately, Jeff and I looked at each other and said, ‘We’ve got to report this individual’.”

Mr DeSantis said he was “not really a friendly guy”, but it was “not enough that I thought he was going to go commit acts of violence”.

Authorities say it is too early to ascertain the gunman’s motive, but the Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into Hodgkinson’s anti-Trump social media rants.

“Trump is a traitor. Trump has destroyed our democracy. It’s time to destroy Trump & Co,” Hodgkinson wrote on his Facebook page on March 22.

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