Federal agents surrounded the St. Clair County home of James Hodgkinson. A man who said he’s a lifelong friend stopped by the home to survey the scene.

“It just took me by surprise when I saw it on the news today that he did what he did,” said Dale Walsh.

Walsh described Hodgkinson was fun and outgoing, but also passionate about his beliefs.

“Through the years, he didn’t back down from stuff. He was in a few fights, but nothing that would demonstrate violence, what he did. In bar fight, he stood his ground.”

FBI agents escorted a few people from the Hodgkinson home. According to public records, Hodgkinson has lived at the home on Rolling Hills Lane since 1997. Most recently, Hodgkinson worked as a home inspector; a sign on the edge of his property advertised his business. The business license is no longer valid.

Walsh said he hired his friend to do some work for him a couple of years ago, but hadn’t seen him around town recently.

“I just wanted people to know he wasn’t evil. He was tired, I guess, of the politics going on,” Walsh said.