James T. Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Illinois, opened fire on congressmen in Alexandria, Virginia, on Wednesday, June 14, 2017, according to officials (Facebook photo).
WASHINGTON - James T. Hodgkinson, the gunman who officials said opened fire on congressmen during a baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia, has died, President Donald Trump announced Wednesday morning.
Hodgkinson was a 66-year-old man from Belleville, Illinois, according to the FBI.
Hodgkinson was allegedly armed with a rifle when he approached the baseball field and started shooting as Republican congressmen were practicing for the annual Congressional baseball game, which raises money for charity.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, a Capitol police officer, and two others were wounded in the shooting. Scalise was listed in critical condition, according to MedStar Washington Hospital Center.
The two officers, later identified as special agents David Bailey and Crystal Griner, returned fire on Hodgkinson, ultimately taking him down despite their injuries, Trump stated. Bailey was not wounded during the shooting, but was grazed by bullet fragments, authorities said.
“Many lives would have been lost if it weren’t for the courageous actions of the two Capitol police officers who took down the gunman despite sustaining gunshot wounds during a very, very brutal assault,” Trump said.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who ran for the Democratic nomination in the 2016 election, said Hodgkinson was a volunteer on his presidential campaign.
"I have just been informed that the alleged shooter at the Republican baseball practice is someone who apparently volunteered on my presidential campaign," Sanders said on the Senate floor. "I am sickened by this despicable act. 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."
The Belleville News-Democrat, a local newspaper in Belleville, Illinois, reports that Hodgkinson wrote them several letters in recent years.
In the letters, the Belleville News-Democrat reports that Hodgkinson railed against Republican and tax policies.
The Associated Press reports that Hodgkinson's legal troubles date back to the 1990s with arrests for resisting police and drunken driving.
Hodgkinson’s most serious arrest was for battery in 2006, according to Associated Press.
His Facebook page said he ran a home-inspection business out of his home in Belleville, Illinois, which is a suburb of St. Louis.
Former Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille said he got to know Hodgkinson after seeing him every day at the YMCA's lobby with his laptop.
"I missed seeing him this morning simply because as I was arriving at the [YMCA] heading there, that is when I learned about the shooting and I couldn't get there," Euille said. "Otherwise, I probably would have met him, encountered him -- one way or another -- certainly before or after. But it's my understanding that he did arrive this morning, wasn't in the [YMCA] long, exited about 7 o'clock, and the next thing you know, folks heard gunfire."
An employee at Pork Barrel BBQ in Alexandria told FOX 5's Paul Wagner that Hodgkinson had been a regular at their bar over the past few months. Jamie Craig said Hodgkinson never mentioned anything about politics or guns, but said he did talk about real estate and was a golf enthusiast who had come by to watch The Masters.
"I wouldn't say I got to know him. He came in a couple of times, and I'd say he gave off a weird vibe," Craig said. "It's what most of the bartenders who had interactions with him had said and I would agree."
The FBI said they believed Hodgkinson had been living in his car near the area of East Monroe Street in Alexandria since March. The FBI has asked anyone with information about Hodgkinson to contact their Washington D.C. office at (202) 278-2000 or at 1-800-CALL-FBI.