Federal agents showed up at 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson's home in Belleville, Ill., Wednesday. Around there they call him "Tommy" and his friends said Tommy never backed down from a fight.
"I just want to let people know that he wasn't evil, he was just tired of some of the politics that were going on," said Dale Walsh, childhood friend.
ATF agents searched the rural property belonging to Hodgkinsons, which his wife said he left in March when he packed up and headed to Northern Virginia. He had apparently been living in his car, and bartenders at a local barbeque restaurant near Alexandria which he frequented described him as creepy.
"I just remember him being extremely quiet. Didn't really make eye contact, and then would be staring when I was looking away," said Jamie Craig, bartender.
Hodgkinson was formerly a self-employed home inspector. He had been fired from contracting work within the town.
"He got loud, and she asked him to leave the office, at which point he did," said Mark Kern, former Belleville mayor. "At that point he was barred from doing business with St. Clair County"
Court records revealed a long and unsettling history of incidents with guns. In 2006, Hodgkinson was charged with battery and aggravated discharge of a firearm after he allegedly fired a shotgun during an argument and pointed it at someone's face. Those charges were eventually dismissed.
In March, neighbors called St. Clair County sheriff's deputies to Hodgkinson's home after they heard more than 50 shots fired in the woods, close to nearby homes. Deputies said he had a valid FOID card and wasn't breaking any laws.
"I yelled and I said, 'What the hell are you doing? Stop shooting, there's a house over there.' There were some more shots and evidently he didn't hear me or he didn't care," said neighbor William Schaumleffel.
Hodgkinson, who was photographed a Belleville protest, wrote a series of letters to his local paper and apparently volunteered for the Bernie Sanders campaign.
Hodgkinson's Facebook page is largely political, his profile picture is a caricature of Bernie Sanders as Uncle Sam.
The Facebook feed is filled with anti-Trump sentiments such as "Trump is guilty and should go to prison for treason."
He also "liked" a political cartoon that suggested Scalise should be fired. On March 22, he posted "Trump is a Traitor. Trump Has Destroyed Our Democracy. It's Time to Destroy Trump & Co."
"I didn't know anything about his Facebook page, all I'm saying is I knew him going through our years and it just took me by surprise, what he did," Walsh said.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said both in a statement and on the Senate floor that he had learned the shooter volunteered on his presidential campaign -- and that he condemned the shooting "in the strongest possible terms."
"I have just been informed that the alleged shooter at the Republican baseball practice is someone who apparently volunteered on my presidential campaign," Sanders said.
"I am sickened by this despicable act. Let me be as clear as I can be. Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms," he said. "Real change can only come about through nonviolent action, and anything else runs against our most deeply held American values."
Staff members told ABC News they have yet to find someone who worked on the campaign that remembers him. He volunteered in Iowa. Staff members said his work appeared to be minimal and social media posts suggest he once hosted a debate watch party. Sanders' former Iowa state director said Hodgkinson was not on the campaign payroll and the state had more than 10,000 volunteers.