Washington (AFP)

The gunman who opened fire on Republican lawmakers at a baseball practice Wednesday has been identified as James T. Hodgkinson, a strong supporter of leftist Senator Bernie Sanders.

US media identified Hodgkinson, who died following a shootout with police in the Washington suburb of Alexandria, as a 66-year-old from Belleville Illinois, a suburb of St. Louis.

Sanders swiftly responded to the reports, saying he was "sickened" by what he called a "despicable act."

"I have just been informed that the alleged shooter at the Republican baseball practice is someone who apparently volunteered on my presidential campaign," said a statement from the former Democratic presidential hopeful.

"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."

According to his Facebook page, Hodgkinson was a fervent supporter of Sanders, the feisty independent who almost defeated Hillary Clinton last year in a tough fight for the Democratic White House nomination.

He attended Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, and through the end of last year worked for JTH Inspections, the Facebook page indicates.

Posts from last year show he was adamantly opposed to Clinton, and, after the election, to President Donald Trump.

In March he endorsed a petition from left-leaning activist group Change.Org branding Trump a "traitor" who "has destroyed our democracy."

"It's Time to Destroy Trump & Co.," it said.

But there were no signs of violent sentiments on his Facebook page.

Hodgkinson's wife told ABC News that he had been living in Alexandria, Virginia, the location of the shooting, for the past two months.

Hodgkinson was shot by law enforcement officers after opening fire at the early morning practice of a Republican baseball team.

He was transported to George Washington University Hospital, and later died.

Agence France-Presse

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