The shooter who opened fire on a Virginia park, injuring Rep. Steve Scalise and others during the Republican Party team’s baseball practice, has been identified by law enforcement sources at a 66-year-old Illinois man.
James T. Hodgkinson owned a home inspection business, KTLA sister station KTVI in St. Louis reported. Hodgkinson was from rural Belleville, outside of St. Louis.
Addressing the shooting, President Donald Trump announced the gunman had died.
The shooter opened fire Wednesday around 7:30 a.m. a park in Alexandria where congressmen were practicing for the annual Republicans-versus-Democrats baseball game, which is scheduled for Thursday night.
At least five people, including Scalise of Louisiana, were hospitalized. Scalise, the third ranking member of House Republican leadership as the majority whip, was shot in the hip, according to a statement from his office.
A congressional staffer, Zach Barth, was also injured. Matt Mika, a lobbyist for Tyson Foods who sometimes practices with the team, was also identified as one of the victims; Sen. Jeff Flake said Mika was the most seriously injured. House Speaker Paul Ryan also identified two members of the Capitol Police who were injured, Krystal Griner and David Bailey.
In Illinois, Belleville police and the FBI are at Hodgkinson’s home Wednesday morning and are telling news media to standby for an update, according to KTVI.
An acquaintance of Hodgkinson told the Washington Post that he had gone to Iowa to campaign for Sen. Bernie Sanders’s presidential bid. The fellow campaign volunteer described Hodgkinson as quiet, a “passionate progressive” who showed no signs of violence.
Investigators have found anti-Trump posts on social media pages belonging to the assailant, a law enforcement official said on condition of anonymity.
Before the gunman opened fire, he asked Rep. Jeff Duncan off South Carolina whether Democrats or Republicans were playing there, Duncan said. Duncan confirmed photos he’s seen of the gunman on TV and online are those of the man he talked to.
The Belleville News-Democrat newspaper has published a series of letters to the editor that Hodgkinson wrote in 2012, many of them focused on raising taxes on rich people.
In March, Hodgkinson was told to stop shooting in the woods near his home, the newspaper reported. Neighbors called police after they heard 50 shots fired into pine trees, and officers told him to stop shooting even though he had a valid firearms owner ID, KTVI reported.
A reported with the station interviewed Hodgkinson at an Occupy rally in St. Louis in 2011.
Rep. Mike Bost, who represents Hodgkinson’s district, said the alleged shooter had contacted his office 14 times, the Post reported.
“Every issue that we were working on, he was not in support of,” Bost, a Republican, told the Post, saying Hodgkinson had been full of “anger” but not threatening.
Sanders, meanwhile took to the Senate floor Wednesday to condemn the suspect in the shooter, whom the Vermont senator said “apparently volunteered” for his presidential campaign.
Sanders issued a statement:
A neighbor in Belleville said Hodgkinson hadn’t lived in the Illinois home for some time, but that the alleged shooter’s wife had left for work as normal Wednesday morning.
The home is a modest farmhouse with farm fields in the area, the Post reported.
Hodgkinson’s business license expired in November 2016 and was not renewed, state records show, according to KTVI.
The local prosecutor in St. Clair County, where Belleville is located, told KTVI that Hodgkinson has an arrest record that is not extensive. A 2006 case was regarding a shoving match was dismissed after the alleged victim didn’t show up for the court hearing. In 2011 he was also involved in a traffic crash.