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Neighbors describe Virginia Shooter James Hodgkinson as isolated, reckless

Posted at 9:28 PM, Jun 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-15 13:20:42-04

James T. Hodgkinson is known as Tom in his hometown of Belleville, Illinois. Across the country, the 66-year-old man is now known as the suspect of a shooting that injured multiple people in Alexandria, Virginia, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise.

Just three months ago, his neighbor Bill Schaumleffel heard a gun go off.

"I mean it was loud and I knew it was a high-powered rifle," Schaumleffel said. "He just looked across to the center of the woods down there and he puts this thing up to his shoulder and shot three more times."

That's when Schaumleffel called the St. Clair Sheriff's Office. His neighbor wasn't a stranger to local law enforcement though. 

Hodgkinson has been arrested several times for offenses ranging from DUI to battery. Cricket Lobstein, who lives close to his home, said, "There was never a conversation about the man."

For Lobstein, the news was devastating. "I think for a man of 66 years old, I would think that he would have more respect for human life. There's no reason, none at all, for human life to be taken or threatened because of their political beliefs."

That's exactly what law enforcement is investigating now. Hodgkinson actively criticized Republican policies and members of the GOP. 

In a letter to the Belleville News-Democrat dated July 29, 2012 he wrote, "We need to vote all Republicans out of Congress... We can get our country back if we all vote the right way."

Read all the letters here: 

Belleville, IL Congressional gunman letters to the editor | Belleville News-Democrat

A photo in front of the downtown Belleville post office captures him protesting tax policy, criticizing President Ronald Reagan. 

Only two days before the attack, a Facebook post saying, "I Want to Say Mr. President, for being an (expletive) you are Truly the Biggest (expletive) We Have Ever Had in the Oval Office."

Hodgkinson died at the hospital after a gunfight with police. The victims in the attack are expected to survive, some after undergoing surgery. 

Lobstein said, "I hope that people can forgive him, but don't forget it."