CHICAGO (CBS) — The Illinois man suspected of shooting a congressman and others at a congressional baseball practice in Virginia on Wednesday was angry over President Trump’s policies and had traveled to the Washington area to protest.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation identified the suspect as James T. Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Ill. He died of multiple gunshots to the torso in an exhange of gunfire with police on the scene.
Hodgkinson traveled to Washington to protest the Trump administration, according to the New York Times, which interviewed the shooter’s brother.
“I know he wasn’t happy with the way things were going, the election results and stuff,” his brother, Michael Hodgkinson, told the Times.
At a news conference on Wednesday afternoon, the FBI said they believe Hodgkinson traveled from Illinois to Virginia in March. His vehicle, a white cargo van, was at the scene of the shooting and is being processed for evidence.
Hodgkinson, 66, owned a home inspection business from 2003 to 2016. His home inspection license expired in November 2016 and was not renewed, state records show. He also was a licensed real estate appraiser from 1994 to 1997. He was never disciplined.
Hodgkinson had been involved in several incidents with the authorities in St. Clair County. In April 2006 he was involved a domestic dispute and the aggravated discharge of a firearm. The domestic abuse charges were eventually dropped.
Police were also called to his home in March of this year after neighbors reported multiple gunshots.
Neighbor William Schaumleffel, WBBM Newsradio reports, said Hodgkinson appeared to take target practice on a stand of trees near his home, firing across Schaumleffel’s property while Schaumleffel’s 6-year-old granddaughter and 3-year-old grandson played outside.
“I yelled, ‘Stop that shooting. There’s houses over there and kids around.’ I don’t think that I was loud enough that he heard me or if he heard me, he ignored me,” Schaumleffel said. The shooting stopped after police arrived.
Postings on what appears to be Hodkginson’s Facebook page are critical of President Trump and his political allies.
One post from March states: “Trump is a Traitor. Trump Has Destroyed Our Democracy. It’s Time to Destroy Trump & Co.”
He was also a member of a Facebook page called: Terminate the Republican Party.
In December, changed his cover photo to a picture of independent congressman Bernie Sanders. Another image states: “Democratic Socialism Explained In Three Words: We The People.”
An post in August states: “I want Bernie to Win the White House.” He volunteered for the Sanders’ presidential campaign.
On the Senate floor, Sanders denounced the shooting. “I am sickened by this despicable act,” he said.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana) was shot in the hip while fielding balls at second base during batting practice at the baseball field, officials said.
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Arizona), who was in the dugout, said the gunman had a high-powered rifle. Flake said Scalise was unable to move after he was shot, and he laid on the ground for several minutes before someone could get to him, because the gunman was still shooting.
“He dragged himself, after he was shot, from near second base about 10 or 15 yards into the field, just to be I think a little further away from the gunman; but he was laying motionless out there,” Flake said.
Once everyone learned the shooter was down, Flake said he ran out to Scalise to put pressure on his wound until medics could take him to a hospital.
Illinois Congressmen Rodney Davis, Darin LaHood, and John Shimkus are members of the congressional charity baseball team, but LaHood and Shimkus were not at the practice. Davis was at practice, but was not wounded.
The practice was for a bipartisan baseball game scheduled for Thursday. According to a source, when Democratic members of Congress practicing at a different ballfield miles away heard of the shooting, they immediately stopped and said a prayer together, CBS News senior investigative producer Pat Milton reports.
Scalise is the No. 3 House Republican leader. He was first elected to the House in 2008 after serving in the state legislature.
Because Scalise is a member of the House leadership, two Capitol Police officers were at the practice and were shot while exchanging gunfire with the suspect. A fouth person, an aide to a Texas congressman, was also wounded, according to reports.