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Shooter Hodgkinson contacted his Republican congressman 10 times

In this undated file photo, James Hodgkinson holds a sign during a protest outside of a United States Post Office in Belleville, Ill. Hodgkinson has been identified as the suspect in the Wednesday, June 14, 2017, Washington D.C. shooting. (Derik Holtmann/Belleville News-Democrat via AP)

James T. Hodgkinson, a 66-year-old white male from Belleville, Illinois was identified by police as the suspect in the Wednesday morning shooting at a Republican congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virgina. Hodgkinson opened fire on the field, injuring House Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), and four others before he was shot by Capitol Police and later died from his injuries.

Hodgkinson contacted his congressman, Rep. Mike Bost (R-Ill.) ten times. Bost's office confirmed they received the calls between June 2016 and May of this year.

"He’s contacted us just about 10 times, on every issue," Bost told The Southern Illinoisan, including healthcare. Bost described him as having a "fairly left position," noting that he was "argumentative" and "angry, but never threatening."

According to his social media accounts and reports from people who knew him, Hodgkinson was a "hardcore" Democrat, a vocal anti-Trump activist, and apparently volunteered for the presidential campaign of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

This video obtained from The New York Post shows the moments after the first shots were fired.

In a Wednesday press conference, the FBI said it is "too early to tell" whether the shooter intentionally targeted the Republican practice.

A number of congressmen who were eye-witnesses to the shooting have suggested that the shooting was politically motivated and issued calls to tone down the "hateful" political rhetoric.

Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), who was at the baseball practice, recounted the incident to reporters on Capitol Hill. Conaway noticed the suspect on the outskirts of the field. Hodgkinson approached Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) in the parking lot as he was leaving the field, asking him, "Hey, who is practicing, Democrats or Republicans?" The suspect thanked Duncan and "wandered off," Conaway said.

The shooting suspect's Facebook accounts show he was a member of a number of anti-Republican groups, including "Donald Trump is not my President," "Expose Republican Fraud," and "Terminate the Republican Party."

In a re-post of a Change.org petition for the "legal removal of The President & Vice President, et al." Hodgkinson commented, "Trump is a Traitor. Trump Has Destroyed Our Democracy. It's Time to Destroy Trump & Co."

Hodgkinson was also a member of a number of public groups supporting Bernie Sanders and apparently volunteered for his 2016 presidential campaign.

Sanders strongly denounced the actions of Hodgkinson in a statement he released on Wednesday.

"I am sickened by this despicable act," Sanders said in a statement. "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."

Neighbors reported that Hodgkinson was "a pretty hardcore" Democrat, but seemed normal, according to the Belleville News-Democrat. Another neighbor described him as "semi-retired," saying he was at home a lot.

Last year, Hodgkinson left his job as a "Home Inspector, Mold/Air Quality Tester," according to the Facebook page. Previously, Hodgkinson owned a home-inspection business and was licensed as a home inspector from 1994 to 1997.

The suspect's wife told ABC News that he had not been home for two months and was travelling in Virginia. She expected he would be home in the next few days.

Police documents released through Illinois' 20th Judicial Circuit show Hodgkinson had a minor criminal record, with a handful of traffic violations and a 2006 battery charge that was dismissed.



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