Capitol police guarding the House majority whip then fatally shot Hodgkinson.
St. Clair Chief Deputy Sheriff Richard Wagner told DailyMail.com that she was in tears ' and her life had been turned upside down.
The shooting began minutes later.
Rep. Mike Bost, a Republican who represents the Belleville area, said that Hodgkinson contacted his office at least 10 times by phone and email.
Suzanne Hodgkinson said she thought her husband had traveled to Washington to focus on tax issues but had not known much of what he was doing.
"I think it's a sad state of affairs for people to exploit a tragedy like this for their own political ends", he said.
"I am sickened by this despicable act", Sanders said Wednesday. But Slater said authorities were still working to determine a motive and had "no indication" Hodgkinson knew about the ball practice ahead of time.
Fox News reported that it had confirmed the existence of a list found in Hodgkinson's possession, containing names of Republicans.
Hodgkinson was injured in a shootout with police and later died of his injuries, according to officials.
A trace of the firearms determined they were legally purchased by Hodgkinson. "I also want to thank the Capitol Police for their heroic actions to prevent further harm", he said. A former congressional aide was hospitalized.
Those who knew him around Belleville have said nothing suggested he was capable of the attack on members of Congress, in spite of his often stated, very strong, and well-documented anti-Republican views.
Before visiting the hospital, Trump celebrated his 71st birthday with a family dinner at the White House, Spicer said.
She said she wasn't sure if there had been a catalyst for him leaving.
Hodgkinson had taken his van to the mechanic who works two blocks from the scene of the attack. He always drank Budweiser from a can and drank alone, barely speaking to anyone, including the bartenders.
He told her he was going to Washington DC to "change the tax brackets" and "work on taxes", she said.
In a 2010 letter, he wrote, "I don't envy the rich; I despise the way they have bought our politicians..." "I don't know, maybe he came for the WiFi", Russell added.
James Hoodgkinson's wife, Sue Hodgkinson, held a brief press conference outside their Belleville home Thursday afternoon. His Facebook page shows that he was a fan of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in 2016. He had also branded Mr Trump a "traitor".
Later that year, the charges were dismissed The Advocate reports.
Later that year, in October 2011, he applauded the Occupy Wall Street protesters in NY and Boston, writing that the demonstrators "are exhausted of our do-nothing Congress doing nothing while our country is going down the tubes". "I started yelling at him, 'Hey, stop shooting; there's houses over here".