An Illinois man allegedly shot at congressional Republicans who were practicing at a baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia Wednesday morning, injuring Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), a congressional staffer, and two police officers.
The alleged shooter has been identified as James T. Hodgkinson, 66, from Belleville, Illinois. Hodgkinson was shot and killed during a gunfight with police. Officials say he owned a home inspection company, but reportedly let his business license lapse last fall. He also reportedly volunteered for Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign in Iowa last year.
“I am sickened by this despicable act,” Sanders said. “Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms. Real change can only come about through nonviolent action, and anything else runs against our most deeply held American values.”
Two Facebook accounts belong to someone of the same name. Each lists the other account as a “friend.”
The first page, listed as belonging to a James T. Hodgkinson from Belleville, Illinois, who worked at home inspecting company JTH Inspections, features Sanders prominently.
This account is a member of myriad groups praising liberal media figures (“Rachel Maddow for President 2020 The Democrats”) and several critical of Republicans, including one named “Terminate The Republican Party.”
“I hate how I feel….but karma…!!” one member wrote on the group’s page in response to the news that congressional Republicans had been shot at. “Trump started all of it…all of it !! Republicans are so evil ..and they can not see it .. people hate the Trump party ..as well as me !!”
This Facebook account had also posted a cartoon criticizing Scalise, whom the shooter reportedly shot in the hip Wednesday morning.
— Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) June 14, 2017
The second page, belonging to a James Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois, features Sanders in an Uncle Sam getup as the profile photo.
This account has liked numerous liberal and progressive pages, including several in favor of Sanders.
The account also was a member of groups critical of Republicans and President Trump, including ones named “I hate Donald Trump,” “Boycott The Republican Party” and “Expose Republican Fraud,” among others.
The page also posted a number of statements criticizing Trump and other Republicans.
The Belleville News-Democrat, a local newspaper, where the alleged shooter is from, published an archive of all the letters Hodgkinson wrote to the editor.
“He often railed against Republican and tax policies,” the News-Democrat stated. “And at least once advocated for legalizing marijuana.” You can read them here.