The former mayor of Alexandria, Virginia, said he had spoken with the suspected congressional baseball practice shooter almost every morning for more than a month, and had discovered the man was living out of his gym bag, The Washington Post reported.
The 66-year-old suspect, James Hodgkinson, opened fire on Republican congressmen and their staffers at their early morning baseball practice Wednesday, police said, injuring Rep. Steve Scalise and several others.
Hodgkinson later died of his injuries in hospital.
Although Hodgkinson had lived and worked in Belleville, Illinois, his neighbour and wife told media outlets he had left the area roughly two months ago.
Bill Euille, the former Democratic mayor who lost his reelection bid last year, told the Post he first met Hodgkinson during their morning workouts at the local YMCA. Euille said he frequently saw Hodgkins in the lobby using his laptop.
Euille said Hodgkinson approached him after hearing people greeting Euille as “mayor.”
“After the first or second week, he asked about good places to eat … within walking distance,” Euille said. “He was a very friendly person.”
He continued: “But what I did notice about this gentleman is he’d open up his gym bag and in it, he had everything he owned. He was living out of his gym bag. That, and he sat in the Y’s lobby for hours and hours. Outside of myself, I don’t think he knew anyone else is in town.”
Euille said Hodgkinson had told him he was a home inspector and asked about available jobs, but said he didn’t have a bachelor’s degree.
Hodgkinson, whose social media accounts show him to be a fierce critic of President Donald Trump and a supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders, did not discuss politics directly, Euille said. But when people at the gym would openly criticise Trump, Hodgkinson “indicated he agreed with us.”
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