The congressional shooter “had a long history of outspoken support of progressive, left-leaning political causes,” according to the Chicago Tribune
On Wednesday, James T. Hodgkinson opened fire at Congressional Republicans and their staffs who were practicing at a baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia.
After injuring five people—including critically injuring Rep. Steve Scalise [R-LA]—the gunman was killed by police.
As details emerged throughout the day, a clearer picture began to emerge of the 66-year old Hodgkinson.
A lifelong resident of Belleville, Illinois, Hodgkinson dissolved his business in December 2016, left his wife and home state in March, and had been living in the Alexandria, Virginia area out of a gym bag and his white cargo van, according to the Washington Post.
In addition to his strong support of Democrat Socialist Bernie Sanders, he was also a supporter of the Occupy Wall Street movement and, according to PoliticoPro, appears to have been a member of the Carpenters Regional Council, a union that represents building trades workers in Missouri, Kansas and southern Illinois.
Hodgkinson, who died of gunshot wounds after the attack, owned a home inspection business in Belleville, Ill., which is part of the region covered by the Carpenters Regional Council.[via PoliticoPro (subscripton)]
An employee of the Carpenters Regional Council told POLITICO that the union had a member by the name of James T. Hodgkinson, who was listed as a “journeyman.” A separate employee of that union subsequently told POLITICO that the union could not confirm him as a member. The Regional Council then declined to take further calls. The Carpenters District Council in Belleville also declined to comment.
“He was this union tradesman, pretty stocky, and we stayed up talking politics,” a restaruant manager told the Washington Post. “He was more on the really progressive side of things.”
“He was a bit of a misanthrope,” retired attorney Lyndon Evanko, who told the Chicago Tribune he once represented Hodgkinson. “He came across as a very irascible, angry little man, but not somebody I would expect to do something like this.”
Hodgkinson had been previously arrested, in 2006, for domestic violence over an incident involving his then-20 year old daughter.
— ABC 7 News – WJLA (@ABC7News) June 14, 2017
Following the shooting, Sen. Bernie Sanders condemned the deadly assault, stating, “I am sickened by this despicable act. 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.”