Shortly after the shooting Wednesday morning at a congressional baseball practice, Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) told NBC News that it appeared the “gunman was there to kill as many Republican members as possible.” Walker, who was at the practice for the upcoming annual congressional baseball game in Alexandria, Virginia, confirmed he was “shaken but okay.”
Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) recounted an “odd” encounter he had as he was leaving the field just minutes before the shooting: “There was a guy that walked up to us that was asking whether it was Republicans or Democrats out there, and it was just a little odd,” DeSantis told Fox News.
Multiple people, including Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), two Capitol Hill police officers, and a congressional aide, were reportedly injured.
WASHINGTON — House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was among five people wounded Wednesday morning when a rifle-wielding gunman opened fire during a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia.
The Republican lawmaker was standing at second base when he was hit in the left hip, witnesses said. After dragging himself to safety and getting help from his colleagues amid the chaos, Scalise was transported to MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C.
He underwent surgery and was in stable condition, his office said.
“Prior to entering surgery, the Whip was in good spirits and spoke to his wife by phone,” the office said in a statement. “He is grateful for the brave actions of U.S. Capitol Police, first responders, and colleagues.”
Among the latest details in the attack:
- After being shot, the suspect was taken to the hospital, where he died. He was identified as a 66-year-old man from Illinois. A motive remained unclear.
- Witnesses at the scene described a “firefight” between the suspect and police. The others wounded besides Scalise: two Capitol Police officers, a congressional staffer and a lobbyist.
- Scalise, the third most powerful GOP member of the House, was expected to recover.
- President Donald Trump from the White House lauded the actions of Capitol Police and first responders at the scene.
Federal law enforcement officials identified the suspected shooter to NBC News as James T. Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois. Trump announced during an update from the White House that the suspect died after being taken to the hospital.
Trump said “many lives would have been lost if not for the heroic actions of the two Capitol Police officers who took down the gunman despite sustaining gunshot wounds during a very, very brutal assault.”
He added that Scalise is a “patriot and he’s a fighter.”
“He will recover from this assault,” Trump said, “and Steve, I want you to know that you have the prayers not only of the entire city behind you, but of an entire nation, and frankly, the entire world.”
Witnesses told law enforcement that when the gunman arrived at the ball field, he asked people “are these the Republicans or the Democrats” practicing, officials added. The inquiry is raising questions about a possible political motivation.
Two Capitol Police officers were also wounded in the incident and their injuries were not considered life-threatening.
House Speaker Paul Ryan from the House floor confirmed the officers’ identities as Krystal Griner and David Bailey: “We are, as ever, awed by the tremendous bravery of the Capitol Police.”