The gunman who opened fire on Republican members of Congress on a baseball field outside Washington Wednesday morning has been identified as James T. Hodgkinson.
President Trump revealed that the gunman had died as a result of injuries sustained during the incident.
At least five people, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, were wounded at the baseball practice in Alexandria, Va. The congressional representatives were practicing for a charity baseball game against Democrats that had been scheduled for Thursday.
The Washington Post first reported on the shooter’s identity: Hodgkinson, of Belleville, Ill., was a 66-year-old home inspection business owner. His home inspection license expired last November and had not been renewed, according to the paper.
Public records show that the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department had arrested Hodgkinson on suspicion of battery, domestic battery, criminal damage of property and reckless discharge of a firearm in April 2006.
Records obtained by Heavy show he his lengthy criminal history in St. Clair County dates back to 1989, which includes various traffic violations, driving under the influence and resisting a police officer.
Hodgkinson’s social media presence has been scrutinized since he was connected with the shooting. According to his apparent Facebook page, Hodgkinson attended Belleville High School-East, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and Southwestern Illinois College; he also ran JTH Construction and JTH Inspections.
Related slideshow: Shooting at GOP baseball practice in Alexandria, Va. >>>
A glance at the activity on the Facebook page, which has not been verified, reveals that Hodgkinson was adamantly anti-Republican and detested Trump. The Facebook page contains a steady steam of anti-Trump posts. He said Trump should go to prison for treason and called him the “biggest a**hole we have ever had in the Oval Office.”
Hodgkinson frequently wrote letters ranting about Republicans and conservative economic policies to the local Belleville News-Democrat newspaper.
He praised former Secretary of Labor Robert B. Reich’s book “Aftershock” and liberal political commentator Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show.
“On a recent show she stated that 17 very rich men are supplying the Republican Party with more than 60 percent of their campaign contributions,” he wrote in July 2012. “These men are trying to buy our country. You know they expect something for all this money. That something is that Mitt Romney and a Republican Congress won’t raise their taxes. We all know that the rich don’t pay enough taxes.”
He also expressed dismay over how many people opposed former President Barack Obama.
“I can’t believe how many people are upset with our president. You’d think that the world was full of rich millionaires. Why else would these people talk badly about a guy who has their best interest at heart?” he wrote in a separate July 2012 letter.
A reporter for KTVI, a Fox–affiliated TV station located in St. *Louis, interviewed* Hodgkinson in 2011 during an Occupy Wall Street. Hodgkinson said he was speaking up because the “99 percenter” was getting pushed around and that the “1 percenter” just didn’t “give a damn.”
— Ben Bradley (@BenBradleyTV) June 14, 2017
Hodgkinson was also a fervent supporter of former Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, who swiftly condemned the violence on Twitter.
Our prayers go out for a full recovery of Rep. Scalise, the congressional aides and police who were injured. We’ve got to stop the violence.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) June 14, 2017
After learning that the shooter had volunteered for his presidential campaign, Sanders released a statement saying he is “sickened by this despicable act,” which he condemned “in the strongest possible terms.” Here is Sanders’ statement in full:
“I have just been informed that the alleged shooter at the Republican baseball practice is someone who apparently volunteered on my presidential campaign. I am sickened by this despicable act. Let me be as clear as I can be. Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms. Real change can only come about through nonviolent action, and anything else runs against our most deeply held American values.
“My hopes and prayers are that Representative Scalise, congressional staff and the Capitol Police Officers who were wounded make a quick and full recovery. I also want to thank the Capitol Police for their heroic actions to prevent further harm.”
It appears that Hodgkinson had moved to Northern Virginia a few months before the shooting.
Former Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille told the Washington Post that he would talk to Hodgkinson nearly every morning between 7 and 7:30 a.m. at the local YMCA.
After showering, Euille said, Hodgkinson would sit in the gym’s lobby, drink coffee and read from his phone or use his laptop — for hours on end.
“He was a very friendly person. But what I did notice about this gentleman is he’d open up his gym bag and in it, he had everything he owned. He was living out of the gym bag. That, and he sat in the Y’s lobby for hours and hours,” Euille told the paper. “Outside of myself, I don’t think he knew anyone else in town.”
Euille said that Hodgkinson had asked him about available jobs or events going on around town. They only discussed politics once when Trump appeared on television, he said.
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