The suspected congressional baseball practice shooter was a fierce Trump opponent who called him a 'traitor'

James Hodgkinson, the man suspected of opening fire on congressmen and staffers at a GOP baseball practice Wednesday morning, was a fierce opponent of President Donald Trump, according to initial accounts and a review of his social media.

The 66-year-old Belleville, Illinois, man owned a home inspection business and appeared to be a fervent supporter of progressive politics and a Trump critic.

Trump said the gunman had died from his injuries but did not name him.

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Congressional baseball shooting suspect James Hodgkinson
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Congressional baseball shooting suspect James Hodgkinson
This 2012 file photo shows James Hodgkinson of Belleville protesting outside the United States Post Office in Downtown Belleville, Ill. (Derik Holtmann/Belleville News-Democrat/TNS via Getty Images)
Police investigators are seen outside the house of Virginia shooting suspect James Hodgkinson in Belleville, Illinois, U.S., June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Kenny Bahr
Congressional baseball shooting suspect James Hodgkinson volunteered for Sanders and petitioned to impeach Trump… https://t.co/Clz23P5Rkt
The house of James Hodgkinson, the Virginia shooting suspect, is seen in Belleville, Illinois, U.S., June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Kenny Bahr
FBI releases poster seeking information from the public about Alexandria gunman James Hodgkinson:… https://t.co/WNdy3KZod3
NEW: St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department releases old mugshots of #Alexandria shooting suspect James T. Hodgkinso… https://t.co/Aqe24vfk5d
Here's what we know about James T. Hodgkinson, the alleged suspect in the congressional baseball shooting… https://t.co/t547g1zhu3
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Hodgkinson left a litany of anti-Trump and anti-Republican posts on the timelines of his Facebook and Twitter accounts, and he joined several Facebook groups with names such as "The Road to Hell is Paved with Republicans" and "Terminate the Republican Party."

Court records show that Hodgkinson has been arrested on charges of battery and aiding damage to a motor vehicle in 2006. The charges were dismissed.

'Totally out of the blue'

Hodgkinson was also a supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose 2016 presidential campaign he volunteered for. Sanders released a statement on Wednesday saying he was "sickened by this despicable act" of an apparent campaign volunteer.

Hodgkinson "wasn't happy with the way things were going, the election results and stuff," his brother, Michael, told The New York Times. "Totally out of the blue."

Michael said he wasn't close with his brother, but said James was politically active and led a regular life.

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Shooting at congressional baseball practice
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Shooting at congressional baseball practice
A police officer mans a shooting scene after a gunman opened fire on Republican members of Congress during a baseball practice near Washington in Alexandria, Virginia, June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Police survey a shooting scene after a gunman opened fire on Republican members of Congress during a baseball practice near Washington in Alexandria, Virginia, June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Police investigate a shooting scene after a gunman opened fire on Republican members of Congress during a baseball practice near Washington in Alexandria, Virginia, June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) talks to reporters after a gunman opened fire on Republican members of Congress during a baseball practice near Washington in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
People walk away from the Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. The third highest ranked U.S. House Republican and at least four others were injured Wednesday morning in a shooting at a congressional baseball practice field the Alexandria neighborhood witnesses said. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A police officer stands next to a vehicle with a damaged window near the Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. The third highest ranked U.S. House Republican and at least four others were injured Wednesday morning in a shooting at a congressional baseball practice field the Alexandria neighborhood witnesses said. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A police officer stands guard near the Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. The third highest ranked U.S. House Republican and at least four others were injured Wednesday morning in a shooting at a congressional baseball practice field the Alexandria neighborhood witnesses said. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
People stand past crime scene tape near the Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. The third highest ranked U.S. House Republican and at least four others were injured Wednesday morning in a shooting at a congressional baseball practice field the Alexandria neighborhood witnesses said. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Police tape is viewed near the crime scene of an early morning shooting in Alexandria, Virginia, June 14, 2017. At least five people people including a top Republican congressman were wounded in a Washington suburb early Wednesday morning when a shooting erupted as they practiced for an annual baseball game between lawmakers. Senior congressman Steve Scalise was shot in the hip, according to fellow Republican lawmaker Mo Brooks who told CNN at least two law enforcement officers and one congressional staffer were also shot in the incident in Alexandria, Virginia. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
ALEXANDRIA, VA - JUNE 14: Investigators gather at Eugene Simpson Field, the site where a gunman opened fire June 14, 2017 in Alexandria, Virginia. Multiple injuries were reported from the instance, the site where a congressional baseball team was holding an early morning practice, including House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) who was reportedly shot in the hip. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
ALEXANDRIA, VA - JUNE 14: Members the FBI survey the damages possibly caused by gun shots on a wall at the site of this morning's shooting at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park June 14, 2017 in Alexandria, Virginia. U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) was among five wounded in the attack, including the suspected gunman, as Republican congressional members practiced for a charity baseball game. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
ALEXANDRIA, VA - JUNE 14: A member of the FBI Evidence Response Team collects evidence at a vehicle whose window is broken at the site of this morning's shooting at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park June 14, 2017 in Alexandria, Virginia. U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) was among five wounded in the attack, including the suspected gunman, as Republican congressional members practiced for a charity baseball game. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
ALEXANDRIA, VA - JUNE 14: Members of the FBI Evidence Response Team collect evidence at the site of this morning's shooting at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park June 14, 2017 in Alexandria, Virginia. U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) was among five wounded in the attack, including the suspected gunman, as Republican congressional members practiced for a charity baseball game. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
US Representative Chuck Fleischmann, Republican of Tennessee, speaks to the media about a shooting incident during a Congressional baseball practice in Virginia after returning to the US Capitol in Washington, DC, June 14, 2017. Several people including a top Republican congressman were wounded in a Washington suburb early Wednesday morning when a gunman opened fire as they practiced for an annual baseball game between lawmakers. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent of Vermont, gets on an elevator as he heads to a vote at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, June 14, 2017, following a report that the shooter in the attack targeting Congressmen in nearby Virginia was a Sanders supporter. Several people including a top Republican congressman were wounded in a Washington suburb early Wednesday morning when a gunman opened fire as they practiced for an annual baseball game between lawmakers. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US Speaker of the House Paul Ryan walks to his office after making a statement on the House floor at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, June 14, 2017, following a shooting incident targeting Congressmen in nearby Virginia. Several people including a top Republican congressman were wounded in a Washington suburb early Wednesday morning when a gunman opened fire as they practiced for an annual baseball game between lawmakers. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
ALEXANDRIA, VA - JUNE 14: A marker is placed next to a piece of evidence at the scene of this morning's shooting at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park June 14, 2017 in Alexandria, Virginia. U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) was among five wounded in the attack, including the suspected gunman, as Republican congressional members practiced for a charity baseball game. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
ALEXANDRIA, VA - JUNE 14: Investigators search for evidence at the scene of this morning's shooting at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park June 14, 2017 in Alexandria, Virginia. U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) was among five wounded in the attack, including the suspected gunman, as Republican congressional members practiced for a charity baseball game. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 14: The Peace Monument at the U.S. Capitol is shown, on June 14, 2017 in Washington, DC. This morning House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) three others were shot by a gunman during Congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
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Charles Orear, an acquaintance of Hodgkinson who said he campaigned with him for Sanders, told The Washington Post that Hodgkinson was a "quiet guy" who was "very mellow, very reserved."

"He was this union tradesman, pretty stocky, and we stayed up talking politics," Orear told The Post. "He was more on the really progressive side of things."

One of Hodgkinson's neighbors told the Belleville News-Democrat that Hodgkinson had been absent for the last two months, and wasn't sure if he was still with his wife, Suzanne.

Hodgkinson's wife told ABC that he had been living in Alexandria for the past two months.

"She said that he went on a trip. She wasn't real specific," said the neighbor, Aaron Meurer.

"I knew he was a Democrat, a pretty hardcore one. I know he wasn't happy when Trump got elected but he seemed like a nice enough guy," he said.

Criticisms of Republicans

The Belleville News-Democrat on Wednesday released several letters to the editor Hodgkinson had written between 2008 and 2011, which criticized conservative policies and Republican politicians.

In one of the letters, Hodgkinson described former President George W. Bush, former Vice President Dick Cheney, and their associates as traitors and accuses them of "war profiteering." In another letter, he expressed hope that the Obama administration would raise income tax rates on the rich, and said it was time to "legalize or at least decriminalize marijuana use."

He also criticized former President Ronald Reagan for giving tax breaks to the rich, saying, "I don't ever again want to hear how great a president he was."

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