BELLEVILLE, IL – The wife of a man who shot a U.S. congressman and four others at a baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia said she had no idea he was going to the Washington D.C. area to commit such a horrific act.
“I had no idea he was going to do this...I can't wrap my head around it,” Sue Hodgkinson said Thursday at an afternoon news conference outside her Belleville home.
The shooter, 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson, was killed by U.S. Capitol Police officers, who were at the ball field at the time of the shooting.
Sue Hodgkinson, who works at a tax firm, said she and James didn't see much of each other from January to March because of her job. James left Belleville in March to travel to Alexandria. The couple's daughter had recently moved back into the house with a two-year-old. She said he sold almost everything from his businessese prior to leaving.
When asked why he left and why he went to the Washington D.C. area specifically, Hodgkinson said her husband wanted to "work on taxes" with government officials, with a goal of changing the tax brackets.
Federal law enforcement said he was living out of his car from March until June. Authorities said James Hodgkinson expressed grievances online about the president and Republicans, but they're still working to determine a concrete motive for the shooting.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was shot in the hip and suffered other internal injuries. He remains in critical condition. A congressional staffer was shot in the leg but was released from a hospital. A lobbyist was also wounded and said to be in critical condition following surgery. Two members of the Capitol Police, Crystal Griner and David Bailey, were also wounded.
Sue Hodgkinson said she and James were married for almost 30 years. James graduated Belleville West High School in 1968.
“I’m sorry that he did this, but there's nothing I can do about it,” she said.
Hodgkinson said she only learned of the shooting and her husband's involvement when a reporter called to ask her about the events.
Over the course of Thursday's news conference, Hodgkinson did not wish to discuss her husband's politics and asked reporters to leave her neighbors and family alone.
"I just want y'all to go away and leave my neighbors in peace. They don't deserve this. I don't deserve this. My daughters don't deserve all this," she said.