Suspected congressional shooter is from Belleville

BELLEVILLE, IL (KTVI) - The suspect in the congressional shootings, James T. Hodgkinson, was from the Belleville area.

“It’s unbelievable. It’s amazing; freaks me out,” said Gary Aye, who lives near Hodgkinson’s home on Rolling Hills Lane.

“Crime happens, but you don’t expect somebody to go that far away to make it happen.”

People who live in the Belleville area were stunned that that man who shot at the congressmen was from their backyard. Local police, sheriff’s deputies, FBI and ATF agents, arrived on the scene.

Dale Walsh, who said he’d been a long-time friend of Hodgkinson, spoke with reporters near the residence.

“I just want to let people know he wasn’t evil; that he was, I guess, tired of some of the politics going on,” Walsh said.

When the letter carrier arrived, she was prevented from delivering the mail on Hodgkinson’s street. Federal agents examined the postal truck and a piece of evidence was removed, put in a brown bag, and taken away.

Walsh provided a mixed picture of Hodgkinson.

“He was passionate in what he believed in. He was a happy go lucky…took me by surprise as to what happened,” he said.

Walsh said Hodgkinson was a builder and then home inspector, as evidenced by the sign on his front lawn. Walsh doesn’t know about any of his political leaning but describes him as strong willed.

“He’d never back down from anybody in a bar fight or whatever; he stood his ground,” Walsh said.