James Thomas Hodgkinson

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Tom Hodgkinson
Born Template:Date-mf
Bellesville, Illinois
Died Template:Death-date
Alexandria, Virginia
Nationality US
Other names James Thomas Hodgkinson
Occupation Home inspector
Known for Tried to assassinate Members of Congress

James Thomas Hodgkinson is an American best known for trying to assassinate members of the United States Congress.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7] He was killed by members of the Capital Police, on June 14, 2017, who were protecting Steve Scalise, the House Majority Whip.[8][9]

Warning signs

Following the attack there was an intense effort on the part of the press to understand Hodgkinson's motivation, and whether there were any warning, that might have prevented the attack, if they hadn't been ignored.[1][2][10][4][5][6][7]

Noting that Hodgkinson had faced domestic violence charges the New York Times cited a study that 16 percent of mass shooters had previously been charged with domestic violence.[6]

Personal life

Hodgkinson was born in Bellesville, Illinois, to Deloris and James J. Hodgkinson.[4] He had a sister and a brother.


Hodgkinson attended Henry Raab Elementary School and Bellesville West High School.[4] Hodgkinson is remembered for serving on the track team and wrestling team.

Hodgkinson attended two colleges, but there is no record of him earning a degree.[1] He attended Southwestern Illinois College and the Edwardsville campus of Southern Illinois University.

Marraige and family

Hodgkinson married Suzanne Hodgkinson in the late 1970s.[1][4] The pair were childless, but served as foster parents for a series of children.

In 1996 a 17-year-old girl they were fostering immolated herself.[1][4] Hodgkinson and his wife told authorities the girl's act came as a surprise to them. They described her as "level-headed".

Their last foster child was a great-niece.[1][4] She moved into their home in 2002, shortly after she turned 13. Relations were strained. Hodgkinson broke into a neighbor's home in pursuit of the girl, in 2006, in an incident that led to him facing firearms charges and charges of domestic violence. The girl was taken out of the Hodgkinson's care that night, and they never fostered another child.

After the attack the Bellesville News-Democrat was able to get her Child-welfare case file unsealed, because she had died of a heroin overdose, in 2015. She described Hodgkinson as a mean-spirited alcoholic, who prior to the violent incident, had been routinely abusive.

Firearms charges, domestic battery charges, other charges


Hodgkinson had been working as a home inspector, for 1994 to 2016, previously he had worked in construction.[1]

Political activity

Although Hodgkinson had been a vocal commentator on weakness he perceived in the Republican Party local Democratic Party officials said that they didn't know him, and that he had played no role in local Democratic Party activities.

Prolific writer of letters to the editor

After the attack Hodgkinson's home-town paper, the Belleville News Democrat published thirty letters to the editor that he had written, from March 6, 2008, to September 12, 2012.[11] Editors noted that he complained about Republicans, their tax policies, and advocated for the legalization of marijuana use.

Social media activity

According to CNN Hodgkinson began posting to facebook in 2012.[12] Hodgkinson's facebook records showed he posted political comments to his facebook account three or four times per week.[1]

Helped campaign for Presidential aspirant Bernie Sanders, in 2016

Hodgkinson traveled to Iowa to help the Bernie Sanders campaign prepare for the Iowa Caucus.[1] According to the Washington Post, Robert Becker, a campaign official, Hodgkinson had no formal role in the campaign, and none of his staff remembered him. Becker pointed out his staff managed the efforts of 10,000 volunteers, in Iowa.

The Washington Post found another volunteer, who remembered working with Hodgkinson, who found him likeable, and said he showed no sign of extremism.[1]

Prelude to the attack

Hodgkinson left his home inspection license lapse, in late 2016.[1][12]

In March 2017 Hodgkinson traveled to Alexandria, Virginia, a suburb of Washington DC, where he lived out of a white panel van.[1]

Eugene Simpson Stadium Park, where the baseball diamond where Hodgkinson attacked Republicans, was across the street from a YMCA.[1] Hodgkinson was seen at the YMCA most mornings, for weeks prior to the attack. Patrons noticed that he never used the YMCA's Gym. Hodgkinson arrived early, and sat by a window which overlooked the field where Republican practiced for an annual Congressional baseball game.

One YMCA patron said his suspicions were triggered to the point he thought he should ask staff about Hodgkinson.[1] William D. Euille, Alexandria's Mayor, described having a friendly interaction with Hodgkinson, "practically every morning". He offered to help Hodgkinson find a job. He thought he and the YMCA's manager, were Hodgkinson's only friends, in Alexandria.


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 Ann E. Marimow, Patricia Sullivan, Shawn Boburg, Tom Jackman (2017-06-14). "Emerging portrait of shooting suspect James T. Hodgkinson: Anti-Trump rhetoric on social media, repeat visits to YMCA near Virginia ballfield". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2017-07-15. https://web.archive.org/web/20170715043955/https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/law-enforcement-officials-identify-shooter-at-congressional-ballgame-as-illinois-man/2017/06/14/ba6439f4-510f-11e7-91eb-9611861a988f_story.html?utm_term=.bd4dca6f83b4. Retrieved 2017-07-14. "For weeks, James T. Hodgkinson sat in the lobby of the YMCA in Alexandria, focused on his laptop and carrying a gym bag, but never working out. His perch looked on to the field where the Republican baseball team had been practicing daily for about two months." 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Tessa Stuart (2017-06-14). "Everything We Know About Alexandria Shooter James T. Hodgkinson: Sixty-six-year-old Illinois home inspector was a Bernie Sanders campaign volunteer and vocal Trump critic". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2017-06-28. https://web.archive.org/web/20170628022447/http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/alexandria-shooter-james-t-hodgkinson-everything-we-know-w488026. Retrieved 2017-07-14. "Back in Illinois' St. Clair County, he had a criminal history that dated back almost 30 years – mostly minor offenses, like failing to obtain an electrical contractor's license in 2009, with five more serious charges, including domestic battery and aggravated discharge of a firearm, all dismissed, in 2006." 
  3. Meghan Keneally (2017-06-14). "Man who shot at GOP lawmakers had history of criminal run-ins". ABC News. Archived from the original on 2017-07-10. http://web.archive.org/web/20170710162553/http://abcnews.go.com/US/suspect-congressional-baseball-shooting-identified/story?id=48032649. Retrieved 2017-07-14. "FBI Special Agent in Charge Tim Slater said at a Wednesday evening press conference that since March Hodgkinson had been living out of his vehicle -- a white cargo van -- in Alexandria." 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Elizabeth Donald, Lexi Cortes (2017-06-14). "James Hodgkinson: high school athlete, political gadfly, distraught father, accused shooter". Belleville News Democrat. Archived from the original on 2017-07-14. https://web.archive.org/web/20170714181859/http://www.bnd.com/news/local/crime/article156131139.html. Retrieved 2017-07-15. "Law enforcement officials have not said what they believe Hodgkinson’s motive may have been for the shooting." 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Nicholas Fandas, Bill Bryan,Alan Blinder, and Adam Goldman, Kitty Bennett (2017-06-14). "Virginia Shooting Suspect Was Distraught Over Trump’s Election, Brother Says". New York Times: p. A1. 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&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news. Retrieved 2017-07-15. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Julie Turkewitz, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, John Eligon, Alan Bliner (2017-06-17). "Before the Gunfire in Virginia, a Volatile Home Life in Illinois". New York Times: p. A1. Archived from the original on 2017-07-14. https://web.archive.org/web/20170714181854/https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/17/us/virginia-shooting-james-hodgkinson-illinois.html. Retrieved 2017-07-15. "When Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun control group, analyzed F.B.I. data on mass shootings from 2009 to 2015, it found that 57 percent of the cases included a spouse, former spouse or other family member among the victims — and that 16 percent of the attackers had previously been charged with domestic violence." 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Joseph Tanfani (2017-06-14). "For weeks, Alexandria shooter hung out at YMCA within sight of ball field". Los Angeles Times. http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-na-essential-washington-updates-for-weeks-alexandria-shooter-hung-out-1497476334-htmlstory.html. Retrieved 2017-07-15. "The Alexandria, Va., shooter apparently left his home in Illinois and spent weeks hanging out at a YMCA near the ball field where he shot at Republican congressmen and staffers." 
  8. "James T. Hodgkinson, 66-year-old suspect in Alexandria shooting, dies of injuries". CBS News. 2017-06-14. Archived from the original on 2017-06-15. https://web.archive.org/web/20170626075758/http://www.cbsnews.com/news/james-t-hodgkinson-identified-as-suspect-in-alexandria-shooting/. Retrieved 2017-06-14. "Hodgkinson made a number of posts criticizing President Trump and expressing support for independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont on his Facebook page." 
  9. "Seeking Information: James T. Hodgkinson – Deceased". Federal Bureau of Investigation. 2017-06-14. Archived from the original on 2017-06-15. https://web.archive.org/web/20170615160846/https://www.fbi.gov/wanted/seeking-info/james-t-hodgkinson/download.pdf. Retrieved 2017-06-15. 
  10. Krishnadev Calamur (2017-06-14). "Who Is James T. Hodgkinson?". Atlantic magazine. https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/06/who-is-james-t-hodgkinson/530295/. Retrieved 2017-07-15. 
  11. "Hodgkinson letters: ‘I have never said life sucks, only the policies of the Republicans’". Belleville News Democrat. 2017-07-14. Archived from the original on 2017-07-13. https://web.archive.org/web/20170713231413/http://www.bnd.com/news/local/article156092134.html. Retrieved 2017-07-14. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 Jose Pagliery (2017-06-15). "Suspect in congressional shooting was Bernie Sanders supporter, strongly anti-Trump". CNN Investigates. http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/14/homepage2/james-hodgkinson-profile/index.html. Retrieved 2017-07-15. "Hodgkinson's online presence was largely defined by his politics. For example, his public Facebook posts date back to 2012 and are nearly all about his support for liberal politics. He was passionate about tax hikes on the rich and universal health care."