The shooter at the GOP congressional baseball practice Wednesday morning was identified as James T. Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois, a 66-year-old supporter and campaign volunteer of Bernie Sanders with far-left political views.
Hodgkinson shot and seriously wounded Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., as well as a congressional aide and two members of the Capitol Police who heroically defended the more than 13 congressmen who were on the field at Simpson Park in Alexandria, Virginia.
Hodgkinson was wounded in a shootout and later died at a local hospital.
FBI agent-in-charge Tim Slater said at a press conference it was too early to say whether the shooting was a politically motivated assassination attempt.
However, based on the political rhetoric on Hodgkinson’s Facebook page and the fact that he specifically asked the political party of the men on the field, some were saying it could be nothing other than an attempt at mass assassination of Republican lawmakers.
“We can make the assumption he was targeting Republicans based on what he did,” said Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., who was one of the players on the field when Hodgkinson began shooting.
As WND reported, Hodgkinson was a Facebook fan of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which nearly five years ago was linked to a domestic terror attack at the Washington office of the Family Research Council.
Hodgkinson owned a home inspection business and was a member of the Trade Association of Home Inspectors. His home inspection license expired in November 2016 and was not renewed, state records show.
Based on the posts he made on his Facebook page, Hodgkinson was an avid supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders for president in the 2016 Democratic primaries.
The local Belleville newspaper posted a photo of him at a political rally holding a sign that said: “Tax the rich, like Congress did for 70 years, till Reagan’s Trickle Down.”
The local paper, the Belleville News-Democrat, reported Wednesday that Hodgkinson was a well-known political activist who frequently sent in letters to the editor.
“I have never said life sucks, only the policies of the Republicans,” Hodgkinson once wrote to the paper.
Watch video account of shooter James Hodgkinson’s background as a political agitator and activist:
In another letter, Hodgkinson accused another letter writer of being “hateful” because he sounded too much like conservative pundits Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly.
“Letter writer Roddy Riggs reminds me of Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly, but I’m sure he doesn’t bring in the millions of dollars those two do. They speak their lies and hatred and misdirection to anyone who will listen.”
Hodgkinson railed against President Trump in a March Facebook post linking to a petition calling for the removal of the president and Vice President Mike Pence.
“Trump is a Traitor,” Hodgkinson wrote. “Trump Has Destroyed Our Democracy. It’s Time to Destroy Trump & Co.”
Hodgkinson had “liked” not only the Southern Poverty Law Center, but also Right Wing Watch and Media Matters, among other far-left political organizations.
Hodgkinson was an admirer of former President Obama. In one letter to the editor to his local newspaper titled “Obama for U.S. workers,” he wrote:
“I can’t believe how many people are upset with our president. You’d think that the world was full of rich millionaires. Why else would these people talk badly about a guy who has their best interest at heart?”
Hodgkinson was charged in April 2006 with battery when he allegedly punched a woman in the face and aided damage to a motor vehicle, according to online records in St. Clair County, Illinois. The charges were dismissed, records show, according to a report by the Washington Post.
He began sniping players on the field shortly after 7 a.m. Wednesday and was immediately engaged with gunfire by two members of the Capitol Police, who were assigned as a security detail to Scalise, who is the House whip and No. 3 congressional leader.
Hodgkinson was shot and wounded. He would later die.
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“He was not at that point resisting arrest. He was just lying there, totally subdued,” said Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Mich.
Hodgkinson arrived at the Simpson Park ball field about 7 a.m. and asked Rep. Ron DeSantis if they were Republicans or Democrats on the field. DeSantis said “Republicans.”
It was minutes later that Hodgkinson re-appeared, armed with a rifle and a pistol and began blasting away.
Sen. Rand Paul, who was present on the field, estimated between 50 and 60 shots were fired in the encounter.
“It was chaotic, it was horrible. People were shot. People were running for cover,” said Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., told Fox News.
He said there was a single gunshot, then rapid fire and police returning fire.
“While I lay in the dugout I could hear the return fire by the Capitol Police,” Fleischmann said. “These are truly American heroes. But for them being there, you would see a lot more members of Congress severely wounded and shot.
“Let’s face it America is a great nation because we’re a diverse nation. I’m a conservative representative from east Tennessee,” he continued. “I have friends on both sides of the aisle. We need to come together as Americans … Our values are the best values in the world. It’s very sad that somebody would take it upon themselves to take a weapon and open fire on anybody of any political persuasion.”
WND asked residents in the area and witnesses for their thoughts on the tragic shooting:
The following are just some of Hodgkinson’s Facebook “likes”:
Hillary Clinton 2016
Bernie is My Homeboy
Liar, Liar Republican Campaign on Fire
Stop the Obstructionist Tea Party
Just Say No to Republicans
Bernie Sanders Truth Talkers – The Revolution Continues
Progressive Global Initiative
Bernie or Bust
Hate Liberals? Bite Me
Democrat Socialist Social Media Network
Progressive Communication Network
Bernie Sanders for President
Berniecrats United to Resist Trump
No More Republicans
Hey Republicans … Shut Up!
End the Corporate Dictatorship
Paul Ryan, the Grinch Who Stole Medicare
Hate All Republican Douches (HARD)
Michele Bachmann is Bats–t Crazy
Chuck Norris is a Douchebag
Don’t Let America Get Trumped Over
Ronald Reagan Was A Douche
Fire the Republican Government
Ronald Reagan was an evil supporter of death squads, NOT a hero
Arrest Both Koch Brothers for Treason
Ignoring Rush Limbaugh
Bernie Sanders for President 2020
F–k the Koch Brothers
The Amazing Atheist
Americans Against the Tea Party
Reclaim America from the Lunatic Fringe
Right Wing Watch
Progressive Democrats of America
Fox News Sucks
Rush Limbaugh Lying Lunacy
Dumb S–t Republicans Say
Stupid Things Republicans Say and Do
Republicans: The F–king NUTS Party
Republicans Are Stupid
Jesus Was Not a Republican
Americans Against the Republican Party
Americans Against Fox News and Republican Lies
Media Matters for America
Southern Poverty Law Center
The Rachel Maddow Show
Real Time with Bill Maher
To really understand the war zone America is becoming, read the June issue of WND’s acclaimed monthly Whistleblower magazine, “RAGE AND VIOLENCE: Why the Left has gone insane in the Age of Trump.”