Virginia Shooter’s Neighbors: “He Would Treat You Really Jerky”

CHICAGO (CBS) — As authorities continue to search for the motive behind Wednesday’s shooting spree at a Congressional baseball practice in Virginia, FBI agents were at the gunman’s home in downstate Illinois late into the night, looking for clues.

Police shot and killed 66-year-old James Hodgkinson after he opened fire on Republican lawmakers Wednesday morning as they were practicing for the annual Congressional Baseball Game for Charity. One congressman and four other people were shot before police took down Hodgkinson.

Hodgkinson’s neighbors in Belleville said they can’t believe someone from their sleepy little town would do something like that.

Jack McClenahan said Hodgkinson was often seen protesting in front of the Belleville post office, voicing his political frustrations for President Donald Trump and the Republican Party.

“At the post office, he would collect signatures for whatever he was working on,” McClenahan said.

According to McClenahan, going to the post office in Belleville usually meant clashing with Hodgkinson.

“I go there quite a bit to the post office, and if you didn’t sign up with him, he would treat you really jerky,” he said.

Hodgkinson often posted criticisms of Trump and the Republicans on social media.

In one Facebook post, he wrote: “Trump is a Traitor. Trump Has Destroyed Our Democracy. It’s Time to Destroy Trump & Co.”

Hodgkinson was a member of several anti Republican Facebook groups, including “Terminate the Republican Party” and “The Road To Hell Is Paved With Republicans.”

He was a home inspector, and owned his own business, but in his free time, it appears politics was Hodgkinson’s passion. On several occasions, he reached out to his congressman by phone and email. Though his contacts might now be seen as a warning sign, U.S. Rep. Mike Bost (R-Illinois) said he never felt threatened by Hodgkinson.

“It was not threatening. ‘If you vote this way, we’ll remember you.’ Well, that means that, if you’re a political activist, that means you’re going to work harder against me next time. You don’t take that as a physical threat,” Bost said.

Neighbors said Hodgkinson hadn’t been seen in Belleville for a couple months before the shooting.

The FBI has said Hodgkinson left Illinois for the D.C. area, apparently to protest Trump’s policies.

U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana), the third-ranking Republican in the House, was critically wounded when he was shot in the hip.

Tyson Foods lobbyist Matt Mika was shot in the chest, and also was in critical condition. Zack Barth, a lobbyist for U.S. Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas) was shot in the leg, and was in good condition.

Two U.S. Capitol Police officers, Crystal Griner and David Bailey, who are members of Scalise’s security team, also were wounded. Bailey was treated and released, and Griner was in good condition.

Members of Congress have said Thursday’s charity baseball game will go on as planned, in a show of unity after the shooting spree.

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