Law enforcement officials reportedly identified Wednesday’s congressional Republican baseball practice shooter as James T. Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois. President Donald Trump reported that Hodgkinson died after exchanging gunfire with law enforcement.
The 66-year-old home inspector’s social media accounts reveal him to have been a longtime Bernie Sanders supporter who held a vociferous grudge against Republican lawmakers and also disliked Hillary Clinton.
In recent months he had taken to posting multiple political memes a day on his Facebook page often with a heavily anti-Republican slant. He would also attach his own messages to those memes. Here are some of the most notable of those posts:
- In one December 2014 post, he wrote “The Republican Party are a Group of Terrorists!”
- In another from 2015, he wrote: “I Hate Republicans & everything they stand for. Which is Lie, Cheat, Steal, Lower Taxes on the richest people in the World, & Now Take Our National Forests so they Can Mine them & Deface them...Republicans Should go back to where they came from. I think that would be Underneath a Rock..”
- Last year, the Facebook page offered messages of opposition to “Lying, Cheating Hillary” who he says “stole” the Democratic primary from Sen. Bernie Sanders. His Facebook page encouraged followers to either vote for third-party candidate Jill Stein or to write in Sanders in the 2016 election.
- In recent months, Hodgkinson’s Facebook page’s stance towards Clinton seems to have softened as he focused his ire on President Donald Trump. “Hillary didn't Do Anything Wrong. Here is the Crook. Lock Him Up!” he wrote in one message about Trump.
- “Trump & His Family are Traitors & Need to Be Prosecuted to the Fullest Extent of the Law,” he wrote in another post about Jared Kushner last month.
- Last week he called Georgia special election congressional candidate Karen Handel a “Republican Bitch.”
- On Monday, he posted seven times and wrote “Trump is Guilty & Should Go to Prison for Treason.”
- In April he tweeted that he was asking Senate Democrats to support Sen. Jeff Merkley’s filibuster of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.
- In April 2014, Hodgkinson tweeted at Sanders with a message about the influence of money in politics.
Rep. Ron DeSantis said earlier on Wednesday that as he was leaving the field before the shooting occurred, “a guy ... walked up to us that was asking whether it was Republicans or Democrats out there.”
The Washington Post reported that “Hodgkinson was charged in April 2006 with battery and aiding damage to a motor vehicle” and the charges were eventually dismissed. The paper also noted that he owned a home inspection business, but his license expired in November and had not been renewed.
Hodgkinson's wife reportedly told ABC News that he’d been living in Alexandria, Virginia—the site of the shooting—for the past two months.
Update, 12:30 p.m.: Hodgkinson volunteered for the Sanders campaign. The former presidential candidate has issued this statement on the Senate floor:
Meanwhile, NBC News' Peter Alexander is reporting that the 2006 assault charge was for attacking his then-girlfriend. "At the time police recovered a pocket knife, hair they say was pulled out of his girlfriend's head, and they recovered a 12-guage shotgun at the scene," NBC reported.
In a letter to the editor to the Belleville News-Democrat, Hodgkinson also once said he believed that President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and most of Bush's Cabinet to be "traitors."