In addition to state charges, the shooter could be charged under 18 U.S.C. § 111 (Assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers or employees), and 18 U.S.C. § 351 (Congressional, Cabinet, and Supreme Court assassination, kidnapping, and assault). Section 351 states:
Whoever kills any individual who is a Member of Congress or a Member-of-Congress-elect, a member of the executive branch of the Government who is the head, or a person nominated to be head during the pendency of such nomination, of a department listed in section 101 of title 5 or the second ranking official in such department, the Director (or a person nominated to be Director during the pendency of such nomination) or Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence, the Director (or a person nominated to be Director during the pendency of such nomination) or Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, a major Presidential or Vice Presidential candidate (as defined in section 3056 of this title), or a Justice of the United States, as defined in section 451 of title 28, or a person nominated to be a Justice of the United States, during the pendency of such nomination, shall be punished as provided by sections 1111 and 1112 of this title.Whoever kidnaps any individual designated in subsection (a) of this section shall be punished (1) by imprisonment for any term of years or for life, or (2) by death or imprisonment for any term of years or for life, if death results to such individual.Whoever attempts to kill or kidnap any individual designated in subsection (a) of this section shall be punished by imprisonment for any term of years or for life.If two or more persons conspire to kill or kidnap any individual designated in subsection (a) of this section and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each shall be punished (1) by imprisonment for any term of years or for life, or (2) by death or imprisonment for any term of years or for life, if death results to such individual.Whoever assaults any person designated in subsection (a) of this section shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if the assault involved the use of a dangerous weapon, or personal injury results, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.If Federal investigative or prosecutive jurisdiction is asserted for a violation of this section, such assertion shall suspend the exercise of jurisdiction by a State or local authority, under any applicable State or local law, until Federal action is terminated.Violations of this section shall be investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistance may be requested from any Federal, State, or local agency, including the Army, Navy, and Air Force, any statute, rule, or regulation to the contrary notwithstanding.
The Justice Department would likely take the lead in any prosecution and the FBI would take the lead on the investigation. On these facts, a life sentence would be likely if the shooter did survive.
The Congressional Baseball Game was scheduled for June 15 at Nationals Park. This is a wonderful tradition that members take very seriously. It is a way to break from the partisanship of the Hill — something needed this year more than ever before. It was shattered by this man. Notably, I heard one member say that a man asked him a few minutes before if the players were Republicans or Democrats. Another member said it was obvious that the shooter was there to kill as many Republicans as possible.
Of course, the shooting raises memories of the 2011 shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords outside of a Safeway supermarket in Tuscan. Giffords survived with a gunshot wound to the head and twelve others were wounded. Six were killed including federal judge John Roll and a 9-year-old child, Christina-Taylor Green. The shooter was Jared Lee Loughner, 22, who was later found incompetent to face three counts: for the attempt to assassinate Representative Giffords; attempting to kill two federal employees, her aides Ron Barber and Pamela Simon; murder and attempted murder. In 2012, he was found competent and Loughner pleaded guilty to 19 counts. The plea avoided the death penalty but he was given seven consecutive life terms plus 140 years in prison without parole.