The Latest: Gunman’s wife says she didn’t know his plans – Washington Post

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The day before he turned a semiautomatic rifle on congressional Republican baseball players and was fatally shot in a firefight with police, James T. Hodgkinson went on a profane rant against President Trump at a nearby garage.

Law enforcement officials continue piecing together the final nomadic months of the shooter whose anger toward Trump apparently erupted in a rage of gunfire that left House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and four others wounded at the Alexandria field where the team was holding practice.

Among the many remaining questions for investigators is whether Hodgkinson — a 66-year-old unemployed home inspector from the St. Louis suburb of Belleville, Ill. — had long planned Wednesday’s assault and had possibly studied the movements of lawmakers in the months he spent living in his van in Northern Virginia.

Hodgkinson bought the high-powered 7.62mm rifle and a 9mm handgun he used in the ambush from licensed gun dealers, according to the FBI, which said Thursday that it had no evidence suggesting the sales were illegal.

He had been living in his white cargo van on a street in Alexandria, the FBI has said, and it was that van that Hodgkinson pulled into the Del Ray Service Center around 10 a.m. Tuesday, said manager Crist Dauberman, 47.

(Claritza Jimenez/The Washington Post)

“The gentleman — the shooter — came in and he asked me to put air in his tires,” Dauberman said. They made small talk. Hodgkinson said he had a home inspection business back in Illinois but had been in Alexandria for a while and had been looking for temporary work.

Dauberman said that when he mentioned he worked six days a week, Hodgkinson erupted into a tirade against the president rife with profanity.

Amid the torrent of expletives, Dauberman recalled Thursday, Hodgkinson’s central point was that the president had messed up the country “more than anyone in the history of this country.”

The intensity of the outburst made Dauberman step back, he recalled. Hodgkinson was passionate, waving his arms and speaking in a loud, deep voice, Dauberman said. “It was a little abnormal,” he said. So he changed the subject back to tires, and with that, he said, Hodgkinson’s anger “fizzled.”

But Hodgkinson also suggested to the mechanic that he was planning to head back to Illinois; he asked whether the newly inflated tires would be able to carry him back to the Midwest.

The garage is just a few blocks from the baseball field where the following day, Hodgkinson fired on the GOP lawmakers, staffers and others as they practiced for Thursday’s charity ballgame against Democrats.

Of those hospitalized after the shooting, Scalise remained in critical condition Thursday night but had improved over the previous 24 hours, according to officials at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, where Special Agent Crystal Griner, U.S. Capitol Police, also was treated and remained in good condition Thursday. Lobbyist Matt Mika was upgraded Thursday afternoon from critical to serious, according to a statement from George Washington University Hospital, where he had been taken.

(Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)

Sue Hodgkinson, the wife of the shooter, told a group of reporters outside her home in Belleville on Thursday that she had no idea her husband was planning violence when he left for the Washington area.

She also said her husband had recently run out of money when reporters asked her about accounts that he was headed home, according to video posted by KTVI in St. Louis.

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