VA shooting: Belleville, IL community surprised by incident

BELLEVILLE, IL (AP) - What started as baseball practice for Thursday's Congressional Baseball Game turned into an active shooter situation where four were injured on Wednesday, June 14.

The man behind the gun was James Hodgkinson, a 66-year-old man from Belleville, Illinois. He was shot by officers at the scene and died the same day.

Belleville residents were shocked to hear that someone from their community was involved in this type of incident. One resident said he was amazed and another was surprised to hear it on the news.

James Hodgkinson's house in Belleville Illinois was an active scene on the day of the shooting.

That air of shock could be felt from neighbors and friends, but some in the area aren't as surprised like Larry Betz.

"The way the world is going right now.. it's almost to expect something like that nearly everyday,"  Betz said.

Hodgkinson had multiple run-ins with law enforcement before the incident and his online record shows multiple offenses especially with St. Clair Sherriff's department. Even knowing that, Sherriff Rick Watson said he never saw this coming.

"No no no no indication what so ever,"  Watson said.

The most recent incident included Hodgkinson firing a rifle in his back yard. A neighbor called it in but because the home is in the County there's no law against it. Also the type of rifle made the Sherriff brush it off even quicker.

"It's more of a dear rifle… he was sighting his rifle in… and it not… I don't believe the same weapon that he used."

Watson's department is not in charge of the investigation but he is hoping they find the motive and that it's not just a difference in political views.

"You know in the things I've learned, since the shooting you know that he was an anti-republican and things like this, you know you can have difference of opinion, but you do not shoot people over a difference of opinion" Sheriff Rick Watson said.

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