Shooter of GOP lawmakers a fan of leftist Bernie Sanders

James Hodgkinson Facebook

Hodgkinson's Facebook posts were frequently critical of Trump. Screenshot Facebook

A government official says the suspect in the Virginia shooting that injured Rep. Steve Scalise and several others has been identified Hodgkinson.

Early on Wednesday, a man armed with a rifle opened fire on a group of Republican members of Congress practicing for a baseball game in Alexandria, Va., injuring Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) as well as an aide and two Capitol Police officers.

Scalise was later said to be in stable condition and undergoing surgery, and President Donald Trump announced late Wednesday morning that the shooter - identified by federal law enforcement sources as James Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Illinois - was killed in the incident. He condemned the shooting, saying in a statement that he was "sickened by this despicable act". "I just want to let people know that he wasn't evil, that he was, I guess, exhausted of some of the politics that are going on".

"My hopes and prayers are that Representative Scalise, congressional staff and the Capitol Police Officers who were wounded make a quick and full recovery".

A senior USA official named the gunman as James T. Hodgkinson from the St. Louis suburb of Belleville, Illinois.

Until recently, Hodgkinson ran a home-inspection business out of his house.

Hodgkinson's Facebook page featured a photo of Senator Bernie Sanders as the cover photo. "That was probably five, ten minutes before the shots were fired".

Bost, who represents the 12th District, which includes Belleville, said Hodgkinson called and emailed his office about any number of issues, including health care and other concerns.

Hodgkinson was charged in April 2006 with battery and aiding damage to a motor vehicle but the charges were later dismissed, records show.

Hodgkinson volunteered for the 2016 Bernie Sanders presidential campaign and frequently made provocative comments on his posts.

He also wrote a slew of letters to the editor of his local paper, the Belleville News-Democrat.

It happened during a Republican practice for the Annual Congressional Baseball Game held for charity.

Mr. Duncan says he was preparing to leave the practice when the man approached him and asked: "Excuse me, sir, who's practicing today?" Bernie Sanders, who a year ago made an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

At a news conference this morning with Virginia Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe, he brought up background checks and closing gun-show loopholes (before anything was publicly known about the shooter).

"I didn't see anything political in him", Evanko recalled, describing Hodgkinson as "a rather angry little man" and "the kind of person who would butt heads with everybody". He was texting - he was texting letting people know we were under fire and that we needed help. "That was the type of conversation we had", Euille said.

While passionate about getting Sanders elected, Orear said Hodgkinson never showed any signs of "violence or malice" toward others. The modest, rectangular clapboard farm house sits amid fields of young corn and budding soy. "He was very nice, said, "Hey I'll take it to a range, somewhere that's safer" and that was the end of it".

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