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Shooter at Lawmakers' Baseball Practice Was Trump Critic, Sanders Fan

  • VOA Staff

James Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois, is seen in this undated photo posted on his social media account.

The gunman who opened fire at a congressional Republican baseball practice Wednesday was a harsh critic of President Donald Trump, according to social media postings, and also was a former campaign volunteer for Vermont independent Senator Bernie Sanders.

James Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Illinois, wounded four people, including Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana and four others, in the early-morning shooting in Alexandria, Virginia, before being fatally shot by U.S. Capitol Police who were guarding the lawmakers.

Hodgkinson, who ran a home inspection business, had a minor but persistent police record, including arrests for drunken driving, resisting arrest and domestic battery. He also was also a regular critic of Washington politicians, especially the Republican Party. On Facebook, Hodgkinson was a member of a group called "Terminate the Republican Party."

On a near-daily basis, Hodgkinson posted passionate and often vulgar anti-Trump rants, some of which were accompanied by fake news items.

"Trump is Guilty & Should Go to Prison for Treason" reads one of the latest posts on his page. "Trump is More Russian Than American!" reads another.

WATCH: Senator Bernie Sanders Condemns Shooting

Hodgkinson also appears to have been an active supporter of Sanders' failed presidential campaign. In a statement from the Senate floor, Sanders said he was informed that Hodgkinson was "someone who apparently volunteered on my presidential campaign. I am sickened by this act. And 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."

The profile picture for one of the accounts depicts Sanders as Uncle Sam. The other says: "Democratic socialism explained in three words: We the people."

In some of his posts, Hodgkinson also was critical of Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee.

It wasn't clear whether Hodgkinson knew ahead of time that the Republican lawmakers would be practicing at the field, or whether he was targeting any individual lawmaker. Several media outlets quoted neighbors as saying he frequently visited the YMCA just steps away from the facility.

At a morning news conference, law enforcement officials said it was too soon to say whether the incident amounted to a terror attack.

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