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

Tina Ray
June 17, 2017

Hodgkinson owned a home inspection business in Belleville, Ill., but dissolved the corporation early this year, according to public records.

Local media also unearthed a 2012 photo of Hodgkinson protesting outside a downtown Belleville post office holding a sign that read, "Tax the Rich".

The alleged shooter, identified by police as James Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Illinois, was killed in a shootout with police Wednesday morning after shooting Rep. Steve Scalise and three others at a baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia.

An online search of newspapers shows that he frequently wrote letters to his local newspaper, the Belleville News-Democrat, which published almost two dozen of them between 2010 and 2012.

The suspect in the shooting in Virginia put a new spotlight on the rage buried in some corners of the progressive left.

Details have emerged of the violent past of an anti-Republican fanatic who shot a USA congressman at a practice session for a charity baseball match. Authorities believe Hodgkinson had been in the Alexandria area since March, living out of a cargo van and not working, Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Tim Slater said. But Slater said authorities were still working to determine a motive and had "no indication" Hodgkinson knew about the ball practice ahead of time. Democratic former Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille said he had spoken often with the man on recent mornings at the nearby YMCA.

"I'm glad I never rubbed him the wrong way, and we never got into a political dialogue", Euille said, noting that he campaigned for Clinton.

"It's just very freaky to think that this guy who was just sitting in there for weeks, not really doing anything, actually turned out to shoot at people", Brennwald told Reuters. "I just want to let people know that he wasn't evil, that he was, I guess, exhausted of some of the politics that are going on". One congressman and four other people were shot before police took down Hodgkinson. Among them was Mike Mika of Tyson Foods, and Zack Barth, a staffer for Texas Rep. Roger Williams.

Two Capitol police officers who were there to provide security for the lawmakers engaged the gunman with pistols, Brooks said.

Duncan said that as he left the field, the man who would later open fire approached him in the parking lot.

Federal Bureau of Investigation special agent Tim Slater declined to comment on whether the gunman had a vendetta against Republicans.

To which I say, sure, I get that, and I respect your view.

In the evenings, Hodgkinson became a bit of a regular at the Pork Barrel BBQ restaurant just a few blocks from the ballfield where he opened fire. He always drank Budweiser from a can and drank alone, barely speaking to anyone, including the bartenders.

"I know he wasn't happy with the way things were going, the election results and stuff", the shooter's brother told the newspaper.

Hodgkinson had been licensed as a home inspector and real estate appraiser but did not renew his home inspector licence after it expired in 2016.

His Facebook posts attacked the president, including one stating, "Trump is guilty and should go to prison for treason". Bernie Sanders, who a year ago made an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

A search of online newspapers shows that Hodgkinson frequently wrote letters to his local newspaper, the Belleville News-Democrat, which published almost two dozen of them between 2010 and 2012. Court records show that his legal trouble started in the 1990s with arrests for resisting police and drunken driving. When that woman's boyfriend confronted Hodgkinson, he struck him in the face with a shotgun before firing off a round as the man fled, a police report said.

The report describes how the two teen girls ran out of the house and tried to escape in a auto - but Hodgkinson pried open a vehicle door and used a knife to slice the seat belt apart.

Sue Hodgkinson said she was married to James Hodgkinson for almost 30 years, but they have not been together since March, when he moved to Washington, D.C.

Hodgkinson came to the attention of IL law enforcement as recently as late March.

Neighbors said Hodgkinson hadn't been seen in Belleville for a couple months before the shooting. There were 20 House members and two senators present, and the shooting lasted about 10 minutes, said Barton.

When Hodgkinson refused to stop, Schaumleffel called the sheriff's department.

Other reports by TheDigitalNewspaper

Discuss This Article