"He was this union tradesman, pretty stocky, and we stayed up talking politics", Orear said.
A friend of Hodgkinson's in IL said what happened was totally out of character. Posts from his Facebook page - including ones where he called President Trump "a traitor" - began circulating shortly after Hodgkinson opened fire at an Alexandria, Virginia ball field earlier this morning.
"I have just been informed that the alleged shooter at the Republican baseball practice is someone who apparently volunteered on my presidential campaign".
A portrait of Sanders, the Independent senator from Vermont and the first Jewish candidate to win major nominating contests in a presidential primary season when he vied previous year for the Democratic presidential nod, is the background photo on Hodgkinson's Facebook page.
A senior US official named the gunman as James T Hodgkinson from the St. Louis suburb of Belleville, Illinois.
She said her husband, who had worked in the building trades and as a home inspector, had sold "almost everything he owned from his businesses" and had gone to Washington.
James T. Hodgkinson, the man accused of opening fire on members of Congress at a baseball practice, had many anti-Trump posts on his Facebook page. President Donald Trump addressed the attack, saying the assailant has died because of injuries suffered during the shooting.
He also had an arrest record going back to the 1990s, including a battery charge in 2006.
Asked about her husband's decision to leave for an extended period of time, Hodgkinson said that her daughter and two-year-old granddaughter had recently moved home.
"I can't believe he did this, I can't believe", she said, adding that her husband left for Washington in March, and she hadn't seen him since then.
Sanders says violence is unacceptable, and says only "nonviolent action" can bring change. Police described the scene as "stable". Victims have been transported to local hospitals, police said.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is now conducting urgent traces on two firearms - a rifle and a handgun - from the scene. A lobbyist was also wounded and said to be in critical condition following surgery.
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