James T. Hodgkinson: What we know about the gunman who allegedly shot Rep. Steve Scalise
James T. Hodgkinson has been identified as the gunman who opened fire at a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia Wednesday, injuring House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, and several other people.
Citing government officials, both the Associated Press and the Washington Post identified Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Illinois, as the alleged shooter. His identity was later confirmed by the FBI.
In a press conference, FBI special agent Timothy Slater said that Hodgkinson’s van, a white cargo wan, was located shortly after the shooting took place. It’s estimated, according to Slater, that Hodgkinson had been living out of his vehicle near the vicinity of East Monroe Street. He reportedly travelled to Virginia from his residence in Illinois, and had been in Alexandria since March of this year.
Earlier, Hodgkinson’s wife told ABC News that her husband had been living in Alexandria for about two months and was not working while he was in Virginia.
According to a Facebook page that appears to belong to Hodgkinson, the man had worked as a home inspector with JTH Inspections.
The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) confirmed Hodgkinson was a former home inspector adding his membership had ended in 2015.
“The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) is deeply saddened by the shooting incident in Virginia this morning. We are aware the alleged shooting suspect has been named as James T. Hodgkinson,” ASHI said in a statement. “We can confirm Hodgkinson was a former ASHI member whose membership ended in 2015. We retain no current ties with him. ASHI extends its sympathies to the members of Congress, staff, first responders and all others affected by this tragedy.”
Facebook posts suggests Hodgkinson was anti-Trump and supported Bernie Sanders during the presidential race for the White House.
On March 22, Hodgkinson posted a Change.org petition calling for “Legal Removal of President & Vice President, et al., for Misprision of Treason” on his Facebook page.
“Trump is a Traitor. Trump Has Destroyed Our Democracy. It’s Time to Destroy Trump & Co,” Hodgkinson allegedly wrote.
Sanders issued a statement following reports Hodgkinson was, at one time, a volunteer with his presidential campaign.
“I have just been informed that the alleged shooter at the Republican baseball practice is some who apparently volunteered on my presidential campaign. I am sickened by this despicable act,” Sanders said. “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.”
Hodgkinson’s brother Michael told The New York Times that James “wasn’t happy with the way things were going, the election results and stuff.”
Michael also told the newspaper that his sister spoke with Hodgkinson’s wife on Tuesday; she said that Hodgkinson planned on going back home to Belleville as he wanted to see his wife and his dogs again.
Michael added that Hodgkinson lived a normal life aside from his political involvement.
He had written numerous letters to the editor of the Belleville News-Democrat newspaper, between 2008 and 2012.
The letters touched on issues such as income inequality and taxing the rich.
According to the Belleville News-Democrat, Hodgkinson belonged to anti-Republican groups including one dubbed “Terminate the Republican Party.”
Hodgkinson had a number of arrests on charges including driving under the influence, resisting a peace officer and eluding police, the newspaper reported.
His most serious problems came in 2006, when he was arrested on a battery charge.
Citing court records, the Associated Press reported that in April 2006 Hodgkinson 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 car with a knife.
The charges were dismissed in November of that year.
In a press conference from the White House, President Trump said Wednesday the “assailant has now died from his injuries.”
However, Trump did not name the suspect.
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