Shooter left behind trail of bitterness directed at rich, Republicans, president

BELLEVILLE, Ill. -- James T. Hodgkinson, 66, died from his wounds Wednesday, and left behind a trail of bitterness directed at the rich, the Republicans and the president.

James Tom Hodgkinson was born and raised in Belleville, Illinois, one of three children. He married and lived in the town with his wife. He ran a home inspection business until last year, when he lost his license.

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St. Clair County Sheriff Richard Watson.

CBS News

And according to the local sheriff, Richard Watson, he had a record of damaging property.

"If he were to give us some kind of indication that he was mental or if he was out there target practicing for some other reason, then we would have looked further," Watson said.

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James Hodgkinson's mugshot after he was arrested for battery in 2006.

St. Clair County Sheriff's Department

Politically active, he was a supporter and volunteer for Sen. Bernie Sanders in 2016. And he was just as politically active online as he was in person.

In a 2015 Facebook post, Hodgkinson shared a political cartoon about Congressman Steve Scalise saying, "Here's a Republican that should lose his job, but they gave him a raise."

He also wrote a slew of letters to the editor of his local paper, the Belleville News-Democrat.

"I have never said life sucks, only the policies of the Republicans," he wrote in one letter.

Acquaintances described him as stubborn and opinionated, but they were also shocked to hear Wednesday's news.

"He was the jokester of the party. He was always happy-go-lucky," said Dale Walsh, who grew up with Hodgkinson in Belleville.

"I've known him pretty well all of my life," he said. "I just want to let people know that he wasn't evil, that he was, I guess, tired of some of the politics that are going on."

Now, law enforcement is swarming the small home on Rolling Hills Lane with many questions that his neighbors share.

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Law enforcement at the gunman's former home in Belleville, Illinois.

CBS News

Those neighbors said Hodgkinson had been away from his home on what they thought was a long trip. Now we know where he went. The FBI said he was in Alexandria, Virginia, where the shooting took place, since March.

  • Dean Reynolds

    Dean Reynolds is a CBS News National Correspondent based in Chicago.