A gunman opened fire on the Republican congressional baseball practice Wednesday morning in Alexandria, Va., wounding Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise and four others.
Majority whip Steve Scalise on a stretcher as he’s evacuated after shooting in Alexandria. pic.twitter.com/VANlEDdGew
— Craig Newman (@craignewman) June 14, 2017
Republican congressman and staffers were gathered at the baseball field to practice for the annual congressional baseball game, scheduled to take place Thursday. Alexandria police confirmed the suspect is in custody and that five people have been medically transported after the incident. Reports indicate two of those medically transported were Capitol Police officers attached to Scalise’s security detail.
Both the Associated Press and Washington Post identified the gunman as 66 year old James T. Hodgkinson of Illinois. Reports indicate Hodgkinson recently relocated to Alexandria, VA.
Scalise was reportedly shot in the hip and is expected to survive. President Donald Trump tweeted after the incident that Scalise was “badly injured,” but is expected to make a full recovery. Scalises’s office said in a statement he is entering surgery adding “prior to entering surgery, the Whip was in good spirits and spoke to his wife by phone. He is grateful for the brave actions of U.S. Capitol Police, first responders, and colleagues.”
Texas Rep. Roger Williams said in a statement that one of his staffers was hit during the attack and is receiving medical attention. Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake believes at least 50 shots were fired during the attack, which lasted approximately 10 minutes.
Sen. Rand Paul told Fox News the event would have been “a massacre” without Scalise’s security detail. Non-leadership members of Congress do not have attached security details. Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks told CNN he used his belt as a tourniquet for Scalise after he was wounded.
“The gun was a semiautomatic,” Brooks said. “It continued to fire at different people. You can imagine, all the people on the field scatter,” he added. “There was so much gunfire, you couldn’t get up and run. Pop, pop, pop, pop — it’s a sound I’ll never forget,” Michigan Rep. Mike Bishop told The New York Times.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the members of Congress, their staffs, Capitol Police, first responders, and all others affected,” The White House said in a statement after the incident. Florida Rep. Ron DeSantis told Fox News an individual approached him prior to the shooting asking whether the congressman practicing on the field were Republicans or Democrats.
Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill tweeted that she spoke with Capitol Police who believed their officers would “be ok.”
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