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Local lawmakers urge unity, understanding in wake of ballpark ambush

Emergency crews respond to multiple people shot at a baseball diamond in Alexandria, Virginia.

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - West Michigan lawmakers like Senator Margaret O’brien reacted with shock and horror at a gunman’s attack at a Republican congressional baseball practice Wednesday morning.

"Who thinks that practicing for softball at 7 a.m. would be a vulnerable moment?" said Sen. Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage.

What should have been a routine baseball practice turned into a crime scene in Alexandria, Virginia.

A gunman who police identified as James Hodgkinson, 66, of Illinois took aim at Republican representatives and started spraying them with bullets.

"You don’t expect a vulnerable moment, but the fact is when you look at Representative Giffords or Representative Scalise they were vulnerable when out in the community," Senator O’Brien said.

Investigators revealed the gunman had a well-documented hatred of conservatives and President Trump.

Senator O’Brien said the contentious political climate is cause for concern.

"I think it is a sad commentary on politics today. We seem to become so detached from one another were confusing directness with rudeness," she added.

The attack ignited an outpouring of support on social media crossing party lines for House Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Louisiana.

"I am very glad to join with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle and denounce violence because violence in all forms is wrong,” said Rep. Jon Hoadley D-Kalamazoo.

Senator O’Brien spoke on the Senate floor on Wednesday about the change she would like to see following her personal experience with threats. Senate Republicans posted that video here.

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