ALEXANDRIA, VA — As investigators looked deeper into the psyche of alleged Alexandria shooter James T. Hodgkinson on Wednesday, one thing kept coming to the front: his hatred for president Trump.
Hodgkinson, 66, who police officials say opened fire at a Congressional charity baseball practice Wednesday morning before being shot and killed by Capitol Hill police, operated at least two Facebook pages that were filled with violent and often profane rants against the 45th president of the United States.
In one of his most recent posts, Hodgkinson, who had worked on behalf Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, the would be assassin calls Donald Trump a “traitor” and vows to “take him down”.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, Texas Rep. Roger Williams’ congressional aide Zack Barth, Tyson Foods director of government relations Matt Mika and two Capitol police officers were injured in the melee. While some of the victims were treated and released, both Scalise and Mika remain in critical condition.
Sanders issued a statement on Wednesday calling the shooting a”despicable act” after details emerged that tied Hodgkinson to the Vermont Senator’s failed presidential campaign.
In comments to reporters, Hodgkinson’s brother, Michael, said his brother was displeased with Trump’s November 2016 presidential win.
“I know he wasn’t happy with the way things were going, the election results and stuff,” Michael Hodgkinson told The New York Times (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/14/us/politics/virginia-shooting-suspect-james-hodgkinson.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=a-lede-package-region®ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news).
Hodgkinson said that, although he had not been close with his brother in recent years, he was hit “out of the blue” that he could do something like this.
Meanwhile, as Republicans expressed sympathy for the victims on the House floor, Democrats took the shooting as an opportunity to call for the need for stricter gun control.
“I keep thinking – when Sandy Hook happened, I thought that would change the conversation. When our colleague Gabby Giffords was shot, I thought that would. I would think that this would change the conversation too,” said Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney, an outspoken gun-control advocate who claimed that Wednesday’s incident is largely due to her party going against President Trump’s pro-gun agenda.
“We’ve been pretty busy in trying to save health care and trying to save the consumers, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and other things,” Maloney told Rolling Stone. “We have resisted, insisted and persisted every single day. And it has been a fight every single day. This is a different kind of fight. And it may reorganize the focus on gun-control efforts.”
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) also called for stricter gun control measures in light of the most recent shooting. “Let me say this: I think we need to do more to protect all of our citizens. I have long advocated – and this is not what today is about – but there are too many guns on the street,” McAuliffe told The Richmond Times Dispatch (http://www.richmond.com/news/virginia/mcauliffe-renews-call-for-gun-control-measures-following-shootings-of/article_bc04dc46-c361-5988-b561-0a38fb1016b4.html).
According to a Facebook spokesperson, Hodgkinson’s pages were taken down on Wednesday for “violating Facebook community standards”.