Metro-East News

Five stories to read: Key moments in the BND’s coverage of Hodgkinson

News-Democrat

James T. Hodgkinson was going to change taxes, wife of shooter says

Suzanne Hodgkinson came out of her home near Belleville, IL, to talk to the media about her husband, James "Tom" Hodgkinson. She had no clue he wanted to shoot members of Congress. She also thought he was coming home after running out of money.
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Suzanne Hodgkinson came out of her home near Belleville, IL, to talk to the media about her husband, James "Tom" Hodgkinson. She had no clue he wanted to shoot members of Congress. She also thought he was coming home after running out of money.

Last week, the world was told that the accused shooter in an attack on a congressional baseball game Wednesday morning was from Belleville.

James T. Hodgkinson, 66, died in the shootout with officers — but not before injuring House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., a staff member and two Capitol Police officers.

Below, take a look at five crucial News-Democrat stories covering the life and death of Hodgkinson:

1. People who knew Hodgkinson “seemed like a normal guy, a regular guy.”

Hodgkinson was killed in a shootout early Wednesday morning when he opened fire on a Republican congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia.

TV news media released his identity and hometown, Belleville, shortly after the shooting.

2. Hodgkinson letters: ‘I have never said life sucks, only the policies of the Republicans’

Hodgkinson submitted several letters to the editor of the Belleville News-Democrat throughout the years.

In those letters, he often railed against Republicans and tax policies, and at least once advocated for legalizing marijuana.

3. Congressional shooter was abusive alcoholic, foster daughter told judge before overdose death

News-Democrat reporters requested a judge unseal court transcripts outlining a Nov. 21, 2006 hearing in which teenager Cathy Rainbolt told a judge her foster father, Hodgkinson, was physically abusive to her.

Rainbolt died in 2015 of a drug overdose after a life “mixed with human suffering and laughter,” her obit read.

4. James Hodgkinson: high school athlete, political gadfly, distraught father, accused shooter

Who was Hodgkinson before this near deadly attack in Virginia?

News-Democrat reporters talked with former friends and scour court records to paint a picture of the 66-year-old’s life.

5. Wife says Hodgkinson told her he was going to Capitol to ‘change the tax brackets’

James Hodgkinson’s wife, Sue Hodgkinson, held a brief press conference outside their Belleville home Thursday afternoon.

She told reporters she had “no idea” her husband was going to shoot at people when he left for Washington, D.C. earlier this year.

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