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Karen Handel, criticized by suspect on social media, calls for ‘civil and productive’ debate

Republican Karen Handel, who is running for Congress in Georgia’s hotly contested special election, is among the GOP figures that alleged shooter James Hodgkinson apparently singled out for criticism on social media.

A post to a Facebook account believed to belong to Hodgkinson called Handel an expletive and said she “wants people to work for slave wages,” according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

In a statement Wednesday, Handel decried the shooting as a “despicable, unprovoked attack” by a suspect who “targeted members of congress specifically because he disagreed with their views.”

“We should not allow our political differences to escalate to violent attacks. We must all refuse to allow the politics of our country to be defined in this way,” Handel said in her statement. “Now more than ever, we must unite as a one nation under God. It is incumbent upon all of us to work together in a civil and productive way, even when we disagree.”

Handel’s Democratic opponent, Jon Ossoff, also weighed in, tweeting: “This is a shocking act of violence in Virginia and I’m praying for all those wounded in this morning’s shooting.”

Shooting at GOP congressional baseball practice in Virginia: The latest
(Peter Jamsion/The Washington Post)

Shots were fired in Alexandria, Va., this morning at a Republican congressional baseball practice. The latest as we learn it.