James Hodgkinson, the man suspected of opening fire on congressmen and staffers at a GOP baseball practice Wednesday morning, was a fierce opponent of President Donald Trump, according to initial accounts and a review of his social media.
The 66-year-old Belleville, Illinois, man owned a home inspection business, and was a fervent supporter of progressive politics and a Trump critic, family and
Trump said the gunman had died from his injuries, but did not name him.
Hodgkinson left a litany of anti-Trump and anti-Republican posts on the timelines of his Facebook and Twitter accounts, and he joined several Facebook groups with names such as “The Road to Hell is Paved with Republicans” and “Terminate the Republican Party.”
“Trump is a Traitor. Trump Has Destroyed Our Democracy. It’s Time to Destroy Trump & Co.,” Hodgkinson wrote in a March 22 post.
Court records show that Hodgkinson has been arrested on charges of battery and aiding damage to a motor vehicle. The charges were dismissed.
Hodgkinson was also a supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose 2016 presidential campaign he volunteered for. Sanders released a statement on Wednesday saying he was “sickened by this despicable act” of an apparent campaign volunteer.
Hodgkinson “wasn’t happy with the way things were going, the election results and stuff,” his brother, Michael, told The New York Times. “Totally out of the blue.”
Michael said he wasn’t close with his brother, but said James was politically active and led a regular life.
Charles Orear, an acquaintance of Hodgkinson who said he campaigned with him for Sanders, told The Washington Post that Hodgkinson was a “quiet guy” who was “very mellow, very reserved.”
“He was this union tradesman, pretty stocky, and we stayed up talking politics,” Orear told The Post. “He was more on the really progressive side of things.”
— News-Democrat (@bellevillenewsd) June 14, 2017
One of Hodgkinson’s neighbors told the Belleville News-Democrat that Hodgkinson had been absent for the last two months, and wasn’t sure if he was still with his wife, Suzanne.
Hodgkinson’s wife told ABCthat he had been living in Alexandra for the past two months.
“She said that he went on a trip. She wasn’t real specific,” said the neighbor, Aaron Meurer.
“I knew he was a Democrat, a pretty hardcore one. I know he wasn’t happy when Trump got elected but he seemed like a nice enough guy,” he said.
The Belleville News-Democrat on Wednesday released several letters to the editor Hodgkinson had written between 2008 and 2011, which criticized conservative policies and Republican politicians.
In one of the letters, Hodgkinson described former President George W. Bush, former Vice President Dick Cheney, and their associates as traitors and accuses them of “war profiteering.” In another letter, he expressed hope that the Obama administration would raise income tax rates on the rich, and said it was time to “legalize or at least decriminalize marijuana use.”
He also criticized former President Ronald Reagan for giving tax breaks to the rich, saying, “I don’t ever again want to hear how great a president he was.”