The shooter who opened fire on a group of Congressman at a baseball field on Wednesday, injuring House Whip Steve Scalise and three others, has been identified as 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson, of Belleville, Illinois.
President Donald Trump said Thursday that the shooter “has now died” after an exchange of gunfire with law enforcement. The mass shooting occurred at around 7 a.m. at the Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in Alexandria, Virginia.
Hodgkinson allegedly went on the field with a rifle as dozens of GOP members practiced for a charity baseball game, several Congress members have said.
He allegedly shot Scalis and three more people before being neutralized by one of Scalis’ guards and police, authorities have said.
A Facebook page belonging to someone with the same name and from the same hometown includes anti-Republican and anti-Trump rhetoric, and includes photos of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
Rep. Ron DeSantis and Sen. Jeff Flake both said that before he began shooting, Hodgkinson asked about the party affiliation of the Congress members practicing.
DeSantis told ABC News he left the practice early and after getting into his car, was approached by an individual. “He came up to us and said, ‘Are those Republicans or Democrats?'” DeSantis told the network.
Sen. Sanders firmly denounced Hodgkinson’s actions in a speech on the Senate floor Wednesday, saying, “I have just been informed that the alleged shooter at the Republican baseball practice is someone who apparently volunteered on my presidential campaign,” stated Sanders. “I am sickened by this despicable act.”
Hodgkinson participated in a 2012 protest outside Belleville’s post office, according to the local newspaper, the News-Democrat.
“He said he was part of a ’99 percent’ team drawing attention to the amount of money and political power the top 1 percent of Americans acquired,” the paper reports.
However, a local Realtor who had worked with Hodgkinson in his capacity as a home inspector said he did not seem “radical.”
“From a business standpoint, he did not seem like he is a radical — opinionated but not a radical,” the real estate agent told the paper of Hudgkinson. “He wasn’t obnoxious, he wasn’t problematic. When he did home inspections for me he didn’t rile up the buyers or make ridiculous statements.”
He owns a home inspection business but his inspection license expired in November 2016 and was not renewed, according to the Washington Post.
Run-Ins with Police
Court and police records obtained by PEOPLE show that Hodgkinson had multiple run–ins with local police over the years, as well as disputes with neighbors.
In 2006, police arrested Hodgkinson on charges of domestic battery, aggravated discharge of a firearm and unlawful damage to a motor vehicle stemming from an alleged incident involving a minor family member. The charges were later dismissed because the alleged victim didn’t come to court, the court clerk tells PEOPLE.
According to police records, on April 1, 2006, Hodgkinson allegedly forced his way into a neighbor’s house while looking for the family member, and upon finding her, allegedly “grabbed her by the hair and pulled her off the floor.”
When the family member ran out of the house and got into her neighbor’s car with her neighbor, but Hodgkinson allegedly opened the door and cut off the seatbelt she was wearing with a pocket knife, records state.
Hodgkinson also allegedly pointed a shotgun at a man who confronted him about the altercation, records state, before allegedly striking the man with the butt of his gun.
More recently, this past March 24, authorities received call that about 50 shots had been fired “in the pine trees” in Belleville, Illinois, where Hodgkinson lived. A responding deputy found Hodgkinson had a valid firearms owner identification card and advised him to not fire his weapon in the area.
Congressman in Critical Condition
Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks told CNN that the gunman was behind the dugout when he opened fire, noting that up to 25 GOP members and several aides were on hand for the baseball practice.
Scalise was shot in the hip and hospitalized in critical condition, MedStar Washington Hospital Center tweeted Wednesday afternoon.
Alexandria Police Chief Michael Brown said in a press conference that five people, including the gunman, were shot.
A federal law enforcement source tells PEOPLE that in addition to Scalise, two Capitol Police Agents and one Congressional staffer were shot. A second congressional staffer may have also been injured, but it is unclear how the injury occurred.
In a speech in the House chamber, House Speaker Paul Ryan named the injured victims as Scalise, Zachary Barth, Matt Mika, Special Agent David Bailey and Special Agent Krystal Griner.
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“We are deeply saddened by this tragedy,” the statement read. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the members of Congress, their staffs, Capitol police, first responders, and all others affected.”
Trump later tweeted: “Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, a true friend and patriot, was badly injured but will fully recover. Our thoughts and prayers are with him.”
• With reporting by K.C. BAKER