Congressman Mike Capuano told Boston Public Radio yesterday that he does not believe heated Democratic rhetoric caused the shooting of Congressman Steve Scalise and three others this week at a GOP baseball team practice in Alexandria, Virginia. 

A gunman opened fire Wednesday at the practice for an upcoming Congressional charity baseball game and shot Congressman Steve Scalise, congressional staffer Zach Barth, lobbyist Matt Mika, and Capitol Police officer Crystal Griner. Scalise is still in critical condition.

The gunman, James T. Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Illinois, was killed by authorities during a shootout. Hodgkinson was a Bernie Sanders supporter and a vocal opponent of President Trump. He was outspoken about his opinions in local papers and on Facebook, with posts like “Trump is a Traitor,” and “It's Time to Destroy Trump & Co."

While most Congressional leaders were quick to put partisan politics aside in the wake of the shooting, some Republicans took this as an opportunity to lambast Democratic rhetoric.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich called the shooting an example of the “increasing intensity of hostility of the left,” on Fox News yesterday.

Republican Congressman Chris Collins of New York told radio station WBEN, “I can only hope the Democrats tone down the rhetoric … it fuels the fires.”

Iowa Republican Congressman Steve King said, “the violence is appearing in the streets, and it’s coming from the left.”

Congressman Mike Capuano disagreed.

“I do not think that heated rhetoric would cause -- other than a few demented individuals -- does not cause this kind of reaction. Otherwise, it would happen every day,” he told Boston Public Radio Thursday. "This is an individual who has had some wiring mixed up internally. Maybe rhetoric set off the wiring but the wiring was mixed up, to begin with.”

Capuano said he thinks the partisanship in Congress is overblown the news. “I remind people all the time. I say, ‘what you see on the 24-hour news cycle is not reality.’ On a personal basis, we really do get along.”

The congressman also said he does not think that yesterday's shooting is indicative of how other people feel around the country.

“The discussions [in congress] are always heated, always emotional, and always important. That is not the way 99.9 percent of the population reacts," he said. "Therefore I take it in stride as a terrible tragedy, representative, hopefully, of nothing.” 

To hear Congressman Capuano’s interview its entirety, click on the audio player above.