Man who shot congressman was living in van, called a loner

Tomas Mccoy
June 17, 2017

Police shot and killed 66-year-old James Hodgkinson after he opened fire on Republican lawmakers Wednesday morning as they were practicing for the annual Congressional Baseball Game for Charity.

He followed groups on Facebook like "Terminate the Republican Party" where he was a regular partaker of extreme left-wing rhetoric in an extreme climate of hate. He had volunteered for the Sanders presidential campaign in 2016. "I also want to thank the Capitol Police for their heroic actions to prevent further harm", he said.

Hodgkinson's political views are relevant to the case, in that his contact with several congressmen before the shooting indicates it contributed to motive, but there were some who despicably leaped on them to tar "the left" for this person's actions. The attacker, who was shot by Scalise's security detail and later died, was an IL man whose social media postings showed anger at Trump and the Republicans.

The former inspector's social media accounts showed passionate support for Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and anger toward President Donald Trump and the Republican party in general.

"Trump is a traitor", Hodgkinson wrote on Facebook on March 22. "It's Time to Destroy Trump & Co".

In another post, Hodgkinson demanded the removal of Trump and Vice President Mike Pence for "treason".

The FBI has released a "seeking information" poster with a call for tips from the public for more information on Hodgkinson.

(Derik Holtmann/Belleville News-Democrat, via AP). A resident by his name wrote repeated letters to the editor, often arguing in favor of raising taxes on the rich.

"While the president would like to attend the game and show his support for all of these fearless public servants, he has been advised that there is not enough time to follow Secret Service protocols", he said.

His licence to appraise real estate expired in 1997.

"He did not come off as a radical", Brennan said. "When he did home inspections for me, he didn't rile up the buyers or make ridiculous statements". The most serious was in 2006, when he was charged with misdemeanor battery for storming into a neighbor's house in an attempt to force home a teenage girl who was under guardianship of Hodgkinson and his wife.

In April 2006, he was arrested on two counts of battery - one for striking a man in the face with a wood shotgun stock and another for punching a woman with his fist, as well as a count of unlawful damage to a motor vehicle for cutting the passenger seatbelt of the woman's auto with a knife. In the same incident, he fired a shotgun.

Hodgkinson's charges were later dismissed, which meant there were no restrictions on him owning guns.

In March, Sheriff's deputies came out to Hodgkinson's house in IL after a neighbor reported hearing 50 gunshots.

The Washington Post first reported the suspect's identity. A bar manager at a restaurant in Alexandria told the newspaper that Hodgkinson visited repeatedly and seemed like "not a friendly person" but did not discuss politics or why he was in Alexandria.

Former Mayor Bill Euille of Alexandria, Va., was making his way to the city's YMCA for his ritualistic morning workout Wednesday when his cell phone lit up with text messages from friends asking if he was all right.

Hodgkinson was spotted regularly over the past several weeks at the YMCA next to the site of the shooting, sitting with a computer in the lobby or at a table in an exercise area that looked out onto the baseball field.

Euille, a general contractor, even tried to help Hodgkinson get a job, The Post reports.

Belleville native Tom Calhoun, the PA voice for the Gateway Grizzlies and the St. Louis Blues, remembers Hodgkinson as "Tommy".

This is adeveloping story.

WANG: She got a lot of questions from reporters.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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