Republican House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was shot in the hip at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park shortly after 7 a.m. Wednesday. The congressman was struck after a gunman, who police identified as James T. Hodgkinson, opened fire at the baseball field located in Alexandria, Virginia.
Scalise underwent surgery and is in critical condition.
According to ABC News, Hodgkinson, 66, is from Belleville, Illinois, but was living in Alexandria for the past two months. His wife, who spoke with the outlet, said he was expected to return to Illinois this week.
GOP House members were practicing for a baseball charity game to honor victims of the recent terror attacks in Manchester and London.
Multiple reports are stating that Congressman Scalise was shot with a rifle and that two Capitol Police officers, Congressional staffers, and members of his detail have been shot and injured as well. Congressional and law enforcement sources are calling this a “deliberate attack.”
This is a field in which Congressional members have used for years to practice with no prior problems or issues.
Congressional members at the scene reported that Congressman Scalise dragged himself approximately 15 yards from second base, where he had been practicing, and lying there until the shooter had been secured, which then they ran and assisted him.
Arizona Senator Jeff Flake reported that Scalise was awake the entire time. Senator Flake also saw a member of Scalise’s security detail bravely protecting the crowd and Scalise by returning fire at the shooter, despite being wounded in the leg.
When shots rang out, staff members and lawmakers ran for cover, jumping over fences and hiding in dugouts to avoid the gunshots. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul told CNN,
“Nobody would have survived without the Capitol Hill police. It would have been a massacre without them.”
When asked about the amount of gunfire, including police fire, Senator Flake responded, “50 (shots) would be an understatement, I’m quite sure.” Senator Flake revealed that someone was wounded in the chest while two members of Congressman Scalise’s security detail were shot. Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks told CNN up to five people were shot.
Hodgkinson is currently in police custody and has been taken to a hospital.
President Donald Trump tweeted:
First Lady Melania Trump thanked first responders in a Tweet:
The Office of House Majority Whip Leader Steve Scalise released the following statement:
Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone.