James Hodgkinson’s wife, Suzanne Hodgkinson, spoke out in her first sit-down interview since her husband opened fire during congressional baseball practice last month and wounded several people before police killed him.
“I get up every morning feeling guilty because I didn’t stop it,” Hodgkinson told The New York Times in an interview. “I wake up with hot sweats, thinking: ‘You should have known. You should have known.'”
James Hodgkinson, a Democrat and fervent critic of President Donald Trump, had gradually become angrier with Washington politics, his wife told The Times. That anger reached fever pitch during the 2016 election, and Hodgkinson “went bananas” after Trump won, Sue Hodgkinson told The Times.
Her husband had not always been that angry, but he took a turn for the worse after a “long illness,” she said.
And multiple reports following the shooting indicated that Hodgkinson had a fraught home life and was an abusive alcoholic.
Hodgkinson’s grand-niece Cathy Rainbolt, who was also his foster daughter, told a judge in 2006 that Hodgkinson frequently hit her and drank everyday, according to court documents obtained by the Belleville News-Democrat.
“I didn’t mark a time when [Hodgkinson] started hitting me,” Rainbolt told the judge. “It’s been hard to live with [an alcoholic] and how [he] treated me.” Rainbolt died of a heroin overdose in 2015.
Sue Hodgkinson has denied the reports. And now, she told The Times, “I’m done with this. I want this to get over. I want my granddaughters to be able to go to school in September without this being dredged up.”
Since James Hodgkinson’s attack, his has been on the receiving end of peoples’ anger, The Times said:
Neighbors have urged her not to mow the lawn, for fear she’ll be attacked in her yard. A friend takes out her trash, dispersing it around town to evade snoops. When she ventured to the Shop ‘N Save alone recently, a white-haired woman – a stranger – approached her in the parking lot and slapped her across the face.
“That was O.K.,” Ms. Hodgkinson said. “Get it out, lady. Just don’t pick up a gun and shoot somebody.”
She cried all the way home.
Hodgkinson will not be holding a funeral ceremony for her husband, she told The Times, though she has asked a funeral home run by her friend to cremate his body and she may scatter his ashes at home or bury them close by.