Man who shot congressman was living in van

2017-06-15 19:49
A white van with Illinois licence plates has been searched by the FBI after a shooting during a baseball practice session. (Brendan Smialowski, AFP)

A white van with Illinois licence plates has been searched by the FBI after a shooting during a baseball practice session. (Brendan Smialowski, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Alexandria - The gunman who wounded a top Republican congressman and several others during an early morning baseball practice had apparently been living out of a white van for months and was frequently seen working on a computer at a nearby YMCA, where he kept mostly to himself.

James T Hodgkinson shot House Republican Steve Scalise on Wednesday before he was fatally shot by police who had been guarding the House majority whip on the Alexandria, Virginia, baseball field, officials said. Scalise in the meantime underwent surgery for the third time a short while ago after being shot on Wednesday morning.

Authorities believe Hodgkinson, 66, had been living out of a van in northern Virginia since March after leaving his southern Illinois home. The man expressed grievances online about President Donald Trump and Republicans, but authorities said they're still working to determine a motive.

Political parties

Hodgkinson was spotted regularly over the past several weeks at the YMCA next to the site of the shooting, sitting with a computer in the lobby or at a table in an exercise area that looked out onto the baseball field.

Former Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille, who chatted with Hodgkinson at the gym, said he assumed the man was homeless because he wore pretty much the same outfit every day and carried a bag full of extra clothes. Hodgkinson rarely joined in the political discussions often set off by the television in the room and never showed any signs that he was troubled, Euille said.

"I never saw him get mad when people were talking good, bad or ugly about any of the political parties," said Euille.

"He was just a very calm, rational person, I thought," he said.

Hodgkinson, who was armed with a handgun and a rifle, died from multiple gunshot wounds to his torso, the FBI said. Federal investigators are working to trace his weapons to find out where they were purchased and other details about their history.

Texas Republican Roger Williams said one of his aides, Zack Barth, was shot but was doing well and expected to recover fully. Two Capitol Police officers sustained relatively minor injuries. A former congressional aide was admitted to hospital.

Presidential nomination

The FBI said authorities are speaking with people who knew Hodgkinson or who may have encountered him. FBI agent Tim Slater said the FBI needs the public's help in piecing together Hodgkinson's whereabouts and activities while he was in Alexandria.

His Facebook page shows he was a fan of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who last year made an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. Sanders acknowledged on Wednesday that Hodgkinson had apparently been among many volunteers on his 2016 campaign.


Read more on:    steve scalise  |  us

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.