Steve Scalise, Republican congressman, in critical condition after shooting
Scalise in critical condition after shooting; Donald Trump reveals suspected shooter is dead
Steve Scalise, the third highest-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives, was among five people taken to hospital after a shooting at a baseball practice in Alexandria, Va., involving Republican politicians and officials.
Scalise's office released a statement indicating he was shot in the hip and underwent surgery. The hospital treating Scalise said Wednesday afternoon that he was in critical condition after the surgery.
"Prior to entering surgery, [Scalise] 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," the earlier statement from the congressman's staff said.
The FBI is overseeing the investigation, as it involves crimes against federal officials, but the agency was tight-lipped at a news conference.
Agent Tim Slater of the FBI said it was too early to tell if anyone was targeted or if it was a random act.
A senior official speaking on the condition of anonymity identified the gunman to Associated Press as James T. Hodgkinson, an Illinois native.
Speaking from the White House, President Donald Trump said the "assailant" was dead, without referring to his name. Trump praised Scalise as "a patriot" and said he had spoken to the 51-year-old congressman's wife, Jennifer, and offered his full support.
"Everyone on that field is a public servant," Trump said. "Their sacrifice makes democracy possible."
Later on Wednesday night, Trump sat by the bedside of Scalise as he and his wife Melania Trump paid a visit at the MedStar Washington Hospital Center.
House Speaker Paul Ryan echoed the president's non-partisan comments and told his fellow lawmakers that "an
attack on one of us is an attack on all of us."
Hodgkinson reportedly volunteered for the presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders, but in what capacity or for how long was not immediately clear.
The 66-year-old also reportedly had several minor run-ins with the law in recent years and belonged to a Facebook group called Terminate the Republican Party.
'I am sickened by this despicable act'
Court records show that Hodgkinson's legal trouble started in the 1990s with arrests for resisting police and drunken driving. His most serious problems apparently came in 2006, when he was arrested on a battery charge. Records indicate he has not been involved in any legal cases since 2011.
Sanders released a statement condemning the shooting.
"I am sickened by this despicable act," Sanders said. "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. Real change can only come about through nonviolent action, and anything else runs against our most deeply held American values."
Prominent Republicans recounted a chaotic scene at their regular 6:30 a.m. practice for a Thursday night charity game, including Alabama congressman Mo Brooks, who helped tend to Scalise.
Brooks said Scalise "crawled into the outfield, leaving a trail of blood."
"We started giving him the liquids, I put pressure on his wound in his hip," Brooks said.
Michigan Congressman Mike Bishop said Scalise was standing on second base when gunfire erupted.
"I was looking right at him," Bishop told Detroit radio station WWJ. "He was a sitting duck."
Police, staffers also wounded
Texas Congressman Joe Barton, whose young son was with him at the park, told reporters after returning to Capitol Hill that the person who fired the shots directed a rifle at Mississippi Congressman Trent Kelly first before hitting Scalise.
"I think the security detail saved a lot of lives because they attacked the shooter," said Barton. "So the heroes are the Capitoll Hill police, the Alexandria police and Steve Scalise's security detail."
WARNING: Video below contains graphic language and imagery.
Police said they responded to a report about an active shooter just at 7:09 a.m. and that after responding to the scene within three minutes, there was an exchange of gunfire with the suspect.
Two law enforcement officers were injured, and were first identified publicly by Ryan as David Bailey and Krystal Griner.
Matthew Verderosa of U.S. Capitol Police said earlier the officers suffered non-life-threatening injuries and are in good condition.
Expanded police presence in D.C.
Arkansas-based Tyson Foods Inc. says one of its employees was among those shot. Tyson spokesman Gary Mickelson identified the wounded employee as Matt Mika. He says Mika was taken to a hospital and that the company is awaiting word on his condition.
Mickelson says Mika is director of government relations for Tyson's Washington, D.C., office.
Roger Williams, a Republican from Texas, said a member of his congressional staff, Zachary Barth, was shot.
Barth confirmed that later in a Facebook post.
"I got shot this morning at the baseball fields, but I am in the hospital and OK," said Barth. "Thank you for the thoughts and prayers."
'There are too many guns on the street'
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe praised the response of police and paramedics, but said guns are too easy to obtain in his state.
"I think we need to do more to protect all of our citizens," said McAuliffe. "I have long advocated, there are too many guns on the street. We lose 93 Americans a day to gun violence."
Police said there were no other active threats in the area, but U.S. Capitol Police said a "robust police presence" is to be expected around the prominent government buildings in Washington, D.C, about a 30-minute drive from the shooting location.
In Statuary Hall, congressman Chuck Fleischmann was on the field when shots rang out. Hopes community of Capitol Hill will "pull together" <a href="https://t.co/cq42eE9kRL">pic.twitter.com/cq42eE9kRL</a>—@matt_kwong
The shooting reverberated back to the floor when the House came to session in the early afternoon.
"We are all horrified by this dreadful attack on our friends and our colleagues and those who serve and protect this capital," said Ryan.
Ryan praised Democrats for putting political differences aside and immediately offering support and prayers.
"It's an injury in the family," said House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat.
Chris Murphy is the Democratic senator from Connecticut whose constituents live in the area of the deadly Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in Newtown in 2012. On Twitter on Wednesday, he first simply said: "Oh my god," in reaction to the ballpark shooting.
An hour later, Murphy tweeted, "We are all pulling for you @SteveScalise. My heart is with you, the Capitol Police, and everyone who was on the scene."
2nd shooting involving House representative
Scalise was elected in 2008 and named majority whip for the Republicans in the House of Representatives in 2014.
Just after his appointment, he dealt with controversy in late 2014 surrounding his appearance as a speaker at a 2002 event in New Orleans.
Scalise said he was unaware the hosts, from the European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO), were white nationalists.
It is the second shooting in six years involving a member of the House of Representatives.
Gabrielle Giffords, a Democrat from Arizona, suffered brain injuries when she was shot outside a supermarket. Giffords no longer serves in D.C. but has made a remarkable recovery from the shooting, in which six were killed.
Giffords, too, offered her condolences in a statement.
"I also know the courage it takes to recover from a shooting like this, and I know Steve and everyone there this morning have such courage in great supply," she said.
The charity ball game tradition between the two parties dates back to 1909, according to NPR.
Eric Swalwell, a Democratic congressman from California, said on social media the 57th edition of the game will still be played on Thursday night.
The <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/congressionalbaseballgame?src=hash">#congressionalbaseballgame</a> is on. We will play for charity, but also for the victims & the heroic officers who took down the shooter.—@RepSwalwell
With files from The Associated Press