Ill. Man ID'd as Suspect in GOP Baseball Shooting | NBC Bay Area
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Ill. Man ID'd as Suspect in GOP Baseball Shooting

President Trump says gunman in Virginia baseball practice shooting, identified as a man from Illinois, has died

The gunman who opened fire on congressional Republicans during a baseball practice in Virginia Wednesday has died, President Donald Trump said during a statement after the shooting.

The shooter was identified by NBC News sources as 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois. Multiple police vehicles were seen around Hodgkinson's home in the southern Illinois town located outside St. Louis.

"Authorities are continuing to investigate the crime and the assailant has now died from his injuries," Trump said. "The FBI is leading the investigation and will continue to provide updates as new information becomes available."

Hodgkinson owned a home inspection business, which he dissolved on Jan. 10, according to Secretary of State corporate records. His home inspector license expired at the end of 2016. 

According to online police records, he was charged in 2006 with battery and aiding damage to a motor vehicle. Those charges were dismissed.

Court records reviewed and obtained by NBC News show that Hodgkinson was charged in 2006 with assaulting his girlfriend. At the time police recovered a pocket knife, hair they say was pulled out of his girlfriend's head and a 12-gauge shotgun at the scene.

Hodgkinson's social media account reflected his support for Bernie Sanders during the presidential primary. Sanders said Wednesday he is "sickened by this despicable act" and noted Hodgkinson apparently volunteered on his campaign. 

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and several others were injured during the shooting at about 6 a.m. during a baseball practice for congressional Republicans in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, one day ahead of the Congressional Baseball Game.

Shooting at GOP Congressional Baseball Practice Shooting at GOP Congressional Baseball Practice

The five injured include two Capitol Police officers and the gunman, who was shot by police who responded to the scene, Alexandria Police Chief Michael Brown said. An aide to Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas, was also shot, the congressman’s office said.

A witness described the shooter as a white man, dressed in T-shirt and shorts. His demeanor was "calm," witness Falisa Peoples said.

"He didn’t say anything ... he was just shooting," said Peoples, who was about to teach an exercise class at a nearby YMCA. "They were shooting at each other … I thought it was some exercise."

The Washington Post first reported the suspect's identity.

The special agent in charge of the FBI's investigation said there was no immediate indication of the shooter's motive, and that it was too early to tell if Republicans were targeted.

On Facebook, Hodgkinson was a member of a group called "Terminate the Republican Party," a fact that seemed to take on new meaning in light of an account from South Carolina Rep. Jeff Duncan, who said that as he was preparing to leave the baseball field, a man politely asked him whether it was a Democrat or Republican team before quietly walking off.

A search of online newspapers show that Hodgkinson frequently wrote letters to his local newspaper, the Belleville News-Democrat, which published nearly two dozen letters between 2010 and 2012, many of which included complaints about the same theme: income inequality.

On May 14, 2010, he wrote: "I don't envy the rich; I despise the way they have bought our politicians and twisted our laws to their benefit."

Less than a year later, on March 4, 2011, he wrote that Congress should rewrite tax codes to ease the tax burdens of the middle class.

"Let's get back to the good ol' days, when our representatives had a backbone and a conscience," he wrote.

Congressman Describes Va. Attack: 'The Gunfire Was Non-Stop'Congressman Describes Va. Attack: 'The Gunfire Was Non-Stop'

Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., describes the moment a gunman opened fired as the Republican congressional baseball team held an early-morning practice in Alexandria, Virginia.

 

(Published Wednesday, June 14, 2017)

Scalise, a Republican from Louisiana, had surgery and is in stable condition at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, his office said. "The whip was in good spirits and spoke to his wife by phone," the statement read.

Two of the other people shot were at George Washington University Hospital in critical condition, according to a statement from the hospital.

Sen. Claire McCaskill tweeted early Wednesday that she had spoken to Capitol Police and that the officers "will be ok."

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