by Jordan Schachtel
Police have identified James T. Hodgkinson, 66, as the man responsible for opening fire at a congressional Republican baseball practice Wednesday morning in Alexandria, Virginia. Hodgkinson died from injuries sustained during his attempted mass murder of GOP congressmen.
Hodgkinson was reportedly neutralized by two Capitol Police officers who were part of a security detail for House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was shot by the gunman. The two officers were also injured in the gun battle. An aide to Rep. Roger Williams of Texas and a Capitol Hill lobbyist were also shot.
The shooter was reportedly armed with a select-fire M-4 rifle and targeted GOP congressmen with dozens of rounds.
Here’s what we know about Mr. Hodgkinson, who reportedly hailed from Belleville, Illinois.
He was charged in 2006 with battery and aiding damage to a motor vehicle, the Washington Post reports, adding that the charges were later dismissed.
According to two unverified Facebook pages that line up with details given by the Washington Post, Hodgkinson is a passionate supporter of far-left Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and a vehement opponent to President Trump.
The Post reports that Hodgkinson worked in Iowa on Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. It’s unclear whether he was a volunteer or paid staff. “He was this union tradesman, pretty stocky, and we stayed up talking politics,” said a man who worked on the campaign trail with him. “He was more on the really progressive side of things.”
On June 12, from one of his unverified pages, Hodgkinson wrote: “Trump is Guilty & Should Go to Prison for Treason.”
On May 31, he wrote: “Trump & His Family are Traitors & Need to Be Prosecuted to the Fullest Extent of the Law.”
On March 22, he wrote a threatening message on Facebook: “Trump is a Traitor. Trump Has Destroyed Our Democracy. It’s Time to Destroy Trump & Co.”
He’s also attacked Republicans in general.
On February 28, Hodgkinson wrote: “Democrats Aren’t Perfect, but Republicans are Liars, Cheats, & Thieves.”
He added on February 25: “Our Republican Rulers want to Make it Harder to Vote, Anti-Constitutional.”
His Facebook banner photo is a picture of Sen. Sanders, and his profile photo applauds “Democratic Socialism.” Hodgkinson’s favorited pages include progressive television shows and left-wing activist groups such as Media Matters for America, Moveon.org, and the Southern Poverty Law Center.
He is reportedly the owner of a home inspection company. A page on Yelp for “JTH inspections” shows photos of Hodgkinson. However, his license expired in November 2016 and was not renewed, records show.
Sen. Sanders has released a statement about the shooter, saying “violence of any kind is unacceptable.”
He read the statement from the Senate floor:
— Colin Jones (@colinjones) June 14, 2017
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