By all accounts, James T. Hodgkinson was a passionate liberal who had a history of minor skirmishes with the law, but no one saw a man capable of planning and executing a shooting rampage against members of Congress.
His brother, Michael Hodgkinson, told the New York Times that the two were not close and that he knew his brother was not happy with the election results but said he never expected him to commit such a crime. “Totally out of the blue” is how he described the unexpected violence.
Until recently, Hodgkinson managed a home inspection business in Belleville, Illinois, just across the MIssissippi river from St. Louis.
Local law enforcement was aware of him for a series of minor incidents. In March of 2016, a neighbor called the sheriff’s department saying Hodgkinson was firing a rifle into a nearby cornfield. Bill Schaumleffel reported that Hodgkinson was squeezing off five or six shots at a time and estimated that he fired about 50 shots total. He said that he asked Hodgkinson to stop but that he refused.
St. Clair County Sheriff Rick Watson said that Hodgkinson showed his deputy all the necessary firearms licenses and paperwork needed for a high-powered hunting rifle. Hodgkinson explained that he was simply using it for target practice and the deputy did not file any charges.
“There was nothing we could arrest him for,” said Watson, “and there was no indication he was mentally ill or going to harm anyone.”
Hodgkinson was arrested in 2006 on two counts…Read More