Charles Orear, 50, a restaurant manager from St. Louis, said in an interview Wednesday that he became friendly with James T. Hodgkinson, whom law enforcement officials identified as the shooter, during their work in Iowa on Sen. Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign. Orear said Hodgkinson was a passionate progressive and showed no signs of violence or malice toward others.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Orear said when told by phone. “I met him on the Bernie trail in Iowa, worked with him in the Quad Cities area.”
Orear described Hodgkinson as a “quiet guy” who was “very mellow, very reserved” when they stayed overnight at a Sanders’s supporter home in Rock Island, Ill., after canvassing for the senator.
“He was this union tradesman, pretty stocky, and we stayed up talking politics,” he said. “He was more on the really progressive side of things.”
The Post reached out to Orear after seeing that he liked one of Hodgkinson’s Facebook posts.