World

Gunman was angry with Trump's policies

WASHINGTON: James T. Hodgkinson, the 66-year-old who opened fire on Republican lawmakers practising for a baseball game on Wednesday, was a fervent fan of leftist Senator Bernie Sanders and angered by the policies of US President Donald Trump.

Hodgkinson's attack shocked those who knew him as a popular and "laid-back" blue-collar worker in his hometown of Belleville, Illinois. But over the years, he had also had a number of scrapes with the police.

In March, apparently just before he moved to the Washington area, neighbours complained that he had fired about 50 shots from a hunting rifle into trees.

Hodgkinson died following a shoot-out with police on a baseball diamond in the Washington suburb of Alexandria, after his early-morning rifle and pistol attack left four people with gunshot wounds and two others with minor injuries.

Mr Steve Scalise, the third-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives, was in critical condition after surgery for a bullet wound to the hip.

Calling himself a democratic socialist on his Facebook page, Hodgkinson had bashed Republicans for their health care and pro-rich policies. He had also branded Mr Trump a "traitor".

In 2006, Hodgkinson was arrested on assault charges and threatening someone with a shotgun. The charges were eventually dropped.

His brother Michael told The New York Times: "I know he wasn't happy with the way things were going, the election results and stuff." - AFP

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