House GOP Whip Steve Scalise Shot at Congressional Baseball Practice
Rachel del Guidice /
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., was shot and wounded early Wednesday in Alexandria, Virginia, when a man opened fire at Republican lawmakers and staff during a practice for a congressional baseball game.
President Donald Trump announced on live television at 10:36 a.m. that the gunman “has died from his injuries.”
At least four others, including two police officers, were hurt in the incident just outside Washington.
Scalise, shot in the left hip while at second base, was taken to MedStar Washington Hospital Center, where he underwent surgery.
“Prior to entering surgery, the Whip was in good spirits and spoke to his wife by phone,” his office said in a prepared statement. “He is grateful for the brave actions of U.S. Capitol Police, first responders, and colleagues.”
Wednesday night, the hospital listed Scalise’s condition as critical.
>>> Trump, Ryan Encourage Unity After Shooting at Lawmakers’ Baseball Practice
Scalise, 51, holds the No. 3 position in the House’s Republican leadership, which is why Capitol Police officers were at the scene to provide security
The Washington Post, citing law enforcement officials, first identified the gunman as James T. Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Illinois. Authorities soon confirmed his identity.
CNN has obtained the drivers license of the alleged shooter James Hodgkinson pic.twitter.com/HInJsxoNaL
— Shimon Prokupecz (@ShimonPro) June 14, 2017
Hodgkinson owned a home inspection business, although his license expired in November, according to state records, the newspaper reported. He had been charged in April 2006 with battery and aiding damage to a motor vehicle, but those charges were dismissed, according to online records.
Hodgkinson’s posts on Facebook indicated he was a supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., the democratic socialist who sought Democrats’ nomination for president last year.
James T. Hodgkinson regularly shared links full of left-wing TrumpRussia conspiracy theories https://t.co/WYDYNuDyub
— Jack Posobiec ?? (@JackPosobiec) June 14, 2017
In his televised remarks on the Alexandria ballpark shooting shortly after 11:30 a.m., Trump said:
Everyone on that field is a public servant: our courageous police, our congressional aides who work tirelessly behind the scenes with enormous devotion, and our dedicated members of Congress who represent our people. We may have our differences, but we do well in times like these to remember that everyone who serves in our nation’s capital is here because above all they love our country.
We can all agree that we are blessed to be Americans, that our children deserve to grow up in nation of safety and peace, and that we are strongest when we are unified and when we work together for the common good.
Sanders took to the Senate floor to condemn the shooting as “despicable” and deplore such violence. He also acknowledged that Hodgkinson was a volunteer worker for his presidential campaign, and tweeted out a statement:
Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms. pic.twitter.com/hyfmmpgXML
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) June 14, 2017
Scalise was among five transported for medical treatment after the shooting at a ball field in the residential area, Alexandria Police Chief Michael L. Brown said.
Brown would not confirm to reporters more than three hours later that the gunman, reported to be wounded by U.S. Capitol Police, was among those five.
Matt Mika, a former Capitol Hill staffer who is now a lobbyist for Tyson Foods Inc., was among the wounded and being treated at George Washington University Hospital, The Washington Post reported.
Also wounded was Zachary Barth, a legislative aide to Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas, who is the team’s coach. Williams tweeted the news shortly after 10:30 a.m.:
He is receiving medical attention but is doing well and is expected to make a full recovery.
— Rep. Roger Williams (@RepRWilliams) June 14, 2017
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said as many as 50 shots were fired in the incident, which began about 7:10 a.m. while he was in the right field batting cage.
Paul said Capitol Police saved the lives of other members of Congress. Without their presence as Scalise’s security detail, “it would have been a massacre,” he told CNN.
Two police officers and a congressional aide were among those wounded, Fox reported.
Colleagues said in television interviews that Scalise fell to the ground, then crawled several feet before laying still. Lawmakers were able to reach Scalise and apply pressure to his wound only after the firing stopped.
Among them were Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Reps. Brad Wenstrup of Ohio, Mo Brooks of Alabama, and Jack Bergman of Michigan.
Flake, at bat when the shooting started, told reporters he used Scalise’s cellphone to call the Louisiana Republican’s wife so she wouldn’t hear about the shooting first on the news.
Several GOP members of Congress said they suspected the shooter was on a mission to kill Republicans.
“Gunman was there to kill as many Republicans as possible,” Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., said in a text.
Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., told Fox News that as he left just before the shooting started, a man asked him whether Democrats or Republicans were practicing on the field.
“It’s too early to say whether they were targeted or not,” Tim Slater, FBI special agent in charge, told reporters around 10:35 a.m., referring to the Republican lawmakers.
Few details were available about the shooter immediately after the incident. Lawmakers interviewed on cable news said he used both a rifle and a handgun. He reportedly was being treated at a local hospital.
Matthew Verderosa, chief of the Capitol Police, offered no details about his involved officers, but said they didn’t suffer life-threatening wounds.
“Suffice it to say that officers acted, I believe, heroically today,” Verderosa told reporters at the same briefing.
The members of Congress were preparing for the annual congressional baseball game scheduled for Thursday at Nationals Park, when Republican and Democrat members of the House and Senate play against each other.
Trump first issued a statement shortly after the shooting.
“The vice president and I are aware of the shooting incident in Virginia and are monitoring developments closely,” Trump said. “We are deeply saddened by this tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the members of Congress, their staffs, Capitol Police, first responders, and all others affected.”
The president later shared an update about Scalise’s condition:
Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, a true friend and patriot, was badly injured but will fully recover. Our thoughts and prayers are with him.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 14, 2017
Numerous members of Congress offered prayers for Scalise and praise for Capitol Police on Twitter.
Heartfelt prayers for @SteveScalise & others shot at the baseball practice today. Thank you to @CapitolPolice who shot gunman. Heartsick.
— Louie Gohmert (@replouiegohmert) June 14, 2017
As we wait for facts to be learned-our prayers are with those injured. Louisiana especially lifts up in prayer @SteveScalise and his family.
— Bill Cassidy (@BillCassidy) June 14, 2017
Please pray with me for my friend @SteveScalise, USCP and all those there. https://t.co/ugvaL6n0kY
— John Shimkus (@RepShimkus) June 14, 2017
Praying for @SteveScalise and others injured…so thankful for Capitol Police officers who likely prevented more injuries this morning.
— Tim Scott (@SenatorTimScott) June 14, 2017
Ken McIntyre contributed to this report, which has been updated with emerging details.