Neighbors call GOP shooter a “radical nut’ who was “reckless’ with firearms

The gunman who critically wounded a Republican congressman during a shooting rampage at a baseball field was described by neighbors Wednesday as “obnoxious” about politics and “reckless” with his firearms.

James T. Hodgkinson, 66, had lawn signs supporting Bernie Sanders and scared neighbors in his Belleville, Ill. suburb by shooting a high-powered weapon in his backyard.

“He’s just been a radical nut,” Karmen Schaumleffel said about Hodgkinson.

“He’s been barred from all county board meetings and stuff like that. I guess he’s caused trouble in various places.”

Schaumleffel recalled how she and her husband notified the police when the man refused to stop shooting his weapon in the middle on the afternoon.

“My husband had yelled at him because the kids were outside and everything and he didn’t stop,” she said. “He was shooting in his backyard over this way in our field.”

The neighbor added that Hodgkinson was “quite vocal” and “obnoxious” about his beliefs.

Fred Widel, 56, lived next door to the gunman for three years and described him as “modest.”

“He used to take a log and attach it to the back of his truck and clear the snow for all the neighbors,” Widel said. “He had a Halloween party a few years ago.”

Widel also said that the man had recently been talking about retiring and was selling his tools.

“I don’t think Tom was a killer I think something broke,” he said.

Hodgkinson was killed in a shootout that left Congressman Steve Scalise in critical condition.


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