7 Things to Know About Congressional Baseball Practice Shooter James Hodgkinson

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(Screengrab: YouTube)Congressional baseball practice shooter James Hodgkinson

Americans across the nation were alarmed on Wednesday morning as a reports surfaced that a gunman had open fired at a Congressional baseball practice in Virginia and shot House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., and others.

The gunman has died while Scalise remains in critical conditon, and four others who were shot — Capitol Hill police officers David Bailey and Crystal Griner, a former staffer and a lobbyist — are said to be in stable condition.

According to reports, the gunman died due to injuries sustained while he exchanged fire with Capitol Police and Alexandria police officers who responded to reports of shots being fired at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park around 7:30 a.m. The gunman was later identified as 66-year-old James Hodgkinson.

Here are seven facts to know about the shooter, James Hodgkinson.

1. Hodgkinson was a Bernie Sanders supporter and did volunteer work for his presidential campaign.

Charles Orear, a 50-year-old restaurant manager from St. Louis, told The Washington Post that he worked with and developed a relationship with Hodgkinson in Iowa while working on the 2016 presidential campaign of Sen. Sanders, I-Vt.

Orear recalled Hodgkinson being a passionate progressive.However, Orear doesn't recall Hodgkinson showing signs that he could one day carry out a violent attack.

"You've got to be kidding me," Orear said when told of Hodkinson's actions. "I met him on the Bernie trail in Iowa, worked with him in the Quad Cities area."

When informed that Hodgkinson had worked for his campaign, Sanders issued a statement condemning the attack. 

"I have just been informed that the alleged shooter at the Republican baseball practice is someone who apparently volunteered on my presidential campaign. I am sickened by this despicable act," Sanders said. "Let me be as clear as I can be. 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."

"My hopes and prayers are that Representative Scalise, congressional staff and the Capitol Police Officers who were wounded make a quick and full recovery," he added. "I also want to thank the Capitol Police for their heroic actions to prevent further harm."

2.  He was originally from Illinois and owned his own home inspection company.

According to Hodgkinson's Facebook page, he lived in Belleville, Illinois, and was the former owner of a company called JTH Inspections, which offers home inspections and air quality testing.

"This business has recently been in the news in connection with a recent tragedy. As a result, people may be coming to this page to share their thoughts and concern," the JTH Inspection's Yelp page reads.

Yelp users have already began posting joking comments about the company's connection with Hodgkinson on the Yelp page. The last legitimate review on the page was posted in March 2015.

"James was thorough and professional. Arrived on time, and answered all questions I had," the review states. "Spent an adequate amount of time and looking at the home. Provided a detailed report along with photos. Very knowledgeable. Would recommend him to family, friends and colleagues."

According to the Belleville News-Democrat, he was a licensed home inspector from 1994 until 1997. After losing his license in 1997, he regained it from 2003 until 2016. His license was not renewed in 2016.

According to ABC News, Hodgkinson has been living in Alexandria, Virginia, for the past two months.

3. Hodgkinson belonged to a number of anti-Republican groups and often voiced his disdain for the party.

According to the Belleville News-Democrat, Hodgkinson belonged to a number of groups that stand in staunch opposition to the Republican Party. One of the groups he was a part of was called "Terminate the Republican Party."

The Conservative Review reports that he also liked the very left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center's Facebook page. 

Additionally, he railed against Republicans in a number letters to the editor sent to Belleville News-Democrat.

According to the news outlet, many of the letters to the editor submitted by Hodkinson criticized Republicans and tax policies. On one occasion, he advocated for the legalization of marijuana.

"One of my favorite TV shows is 'The Rachel Maddow Show' on MSNBC. On a recent show she stated that 17 very rich men are supplying the Republican Party with more than 60 percent of their campaign contributions," Hodkinson wrote in a 2012 letter to the editor. "These men are trying to buy our country. You know they expect something for all this money. That something is that Mitt Romney and a Republican Congress won't raise their taxes. We all know that the rich don't pay enough taxes."

Photo: REUTERS/Mike Theiler)Police put up tape to clear journalists from the outfield area of a baseball field where shots were fired during a congressional baseball practice, wounding House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), in Alexandria, Virginia on June 14, 2017.

4. He criticized Scalise in a 2015 Facebook post.

The Washington Post reports that Hodgkinson had previously voiced his disapproval with Scalise by sharing a political cartoon on Facebook that appears to show Scalise speaking to members of the Klu Klux Klan.

Along with the cartoon, Hodkinson wrote: "Here's a Republican that should loose His Job, but they Gave Him a Raise."

5. Hodgkinson had a history of arrests and was accused of assaulting a woman in 2006.

Police records indicate that Hodgkinson has an extensive criminal history.

According to the Daily Beast, police records indicate that Hodgkinson was arrested in 2006 for domestic battery after he allegedly punched a woman in the face with a closed fist. 

"When the woman's boyfriend walked outside of the residence, Hodgkinson allegedly aimed a shotgun at him and later fired one round," the Daily Beast report states.

"Hodgkinson was also 'observed throwing' an unnamed minor 'around the bedroom,' the police report said. Police identified the girl as his daughter," the Daily Beast report continued. "After the girl broke free, Hodgkinson followed and 'started hitting her arms, pulling her hair, and started grabbing her off the bed.' When a woman tried escaping with Hodgkinson's daughter in a vehicle, Hodgkinson reached inside and 'turned off the ignition."

"James then pulled out a possible pocket knife and cut [her] seatbelt," the police report stated.

6. Former Alexandria mayor says Hodgkinson was living out of a gym bag.

According to The Washington Post, former Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille said he had talked with Hodgkinson nearly every morning for the past month-and-a-half after his morning workouts at the YMCA.

Eullie, who was the city's first African-American mayor, said he tried to help Hodgkinson find a job when he realized that the Hodkinson was living out of a gym bag.

"He was a very friendly person. But what I did notice about this gentleman is he'd open up his gym bag and in it, he had everything he owned," Eullie said. "He was living out of the gym bag. That, and he sat in the Y's lobby for hours and hours."

"Outside of myself, I don't think he knew anyone else in town," the former mayor added.

7. Hodgkinson might have practiced for the attack.

The Daily Beast reports that one of Hodgkinson's old neighbors believes that Hodgkinson may have been engaging in target practice weeks before Wednesday's attack occured.

William Schaumleffel told the Post that he called the St. Claire County Sheriff's Office and complained about hearing about 15 shots fired outside.

Schaumleffel told the Daily Beast that he and his grandchildren were in their backyard when they heard shots being fired in rapid succession.

"I thought, my God, what is that guy shooting?" Schaumleffel said.

After telling Hodgkinson to stop shooting because of the fact houses were in the area, Schaumleffel recalls that Hodgkinson began shooting again in what he now refers to as "target practice."

"I told my wife, hey, I'm gonna call the sheriff. He's liable to turn the gun on us," Schaumleffel said.

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