A top Republican lawmaker and four other people were injured when a gunman opened fire at a baseball field in Virginia where GOP Congress members and their staff were practicing for their annual charity baseball game.
The suspect was shot while exchanging fire with law enforcement officials and later died from his injuries in the hospital, the FBI said.
He was identified as 66-year-old James Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois — and he was no stranger to run-ins with the law.
In April 2006, Hodgkinson was arrested for domestic abuse and discharging a gun after he allegedly assaulted his daughter and her friends.
St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department said Hodgkinson hurled his daughter around the room, yanked on her hair and hit her arms when she refused to come back home from her friend’s house. He also punched her female friend “with a closed fist” on the face and when her boyfriend came to confront him about it, he struck him in the head with a shotgun and later fired a round at him.
One day earlier, according to another police report, Hodgkinson badly damaged a wooden door in a neighbor’s home while searching for his daughter.
All of the charges were later dismissed.
In March this year, police received a complaint from someone living near Hodgkinson who reported he heard 50 shots coming from near the pine trees, according to department’s report. Police found that Hodgkinson had a valid gun permit but he was told not to shoot in the area. Since he had committed no crime, no charges were filed.
Anti-Trump and Anti-Clinton
According to his Facebook page, Hodgkinson had a strong dislike for President Donald Trump bordering on obsession. The man was particularly upset that Trump had won the 2016 election, his brother Michael told The New York Times, and had even gone to Washington to protest.
His social media page was also filled with rants where he has described Trump as a “traitor” who has “destroyed our democracy.”
In his most recent post on June 12, Hodgkinson wrote, “I want to say Mr. President, for being an a****** you are truly the biggest a****** we have ever had in the Oval Office.”
“We Don’t Need or Deserve a Billionaire for President,” read a Dec. 25 post.
On March 22, the suspect also posted a link for a petition at Change.org seeking to remove Trump and Vice President Mike Pence from office for “misprision of treason.”
Hodgkinson also criticized former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, claiming she called herself a Democrat although her actions suggested otherwise. He also described her as “Republican Lite” on his Facebook page.
On April 5, Hodgkinson also urged Democrats in the Senate to filibuster Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.
Illinois Rep. Mike Bost, who represents the district that includes Belleville, said on Facebook the suspect had contacted his office 10 times from June 2016 to May 2017 and repeatedly voiced his “opposition to the Republican agenda in Congress.”
Bernie Sanders Supporter
The man was a staunch Bernie Sanders supporter and even volunteered for his presidential campaign in 2016.
“I want Bernie to win the White House,” Hodgkinson posted in August 2016.
After the suspect went on a rampage, the Vermont senator condemned his actions.
“I am sickened by this despicable act,” Sanders said in a statement. “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.”
Maybe, JUST maybe gun control can be passed when Congressman are shot at. A girl can dream. #BaseballShooting— Sheilah Hayden (@tsquared2001) June 14, 2017
Shouldn't NRA supporters cheer this? They say guns should be used against tyranny. See how harmful that argument is? #baseballShooting— Shaiel Ben-Ephraim (@shaielb) June 15, 2017
Wouldn't the recent shooting of senators & politicians be considered a terroists act, or is the shooter too white? #baseballShooting— Wozza (@adamsonwarren) June 14, 2017
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters