Top House GOP Leader Shot At Congressional Baseball Practice

WASHINGTON (CBS News) — A top House Republican, Steve Scalise of Louisiana, was shot by a rifle-wielding gunman Wednesday at a congressional baseball practice just outside of Washington. At least four other people were also shot in addition to the gunman, CBS News has learned.

In a nationally broadcast address from the White House, President Donald Trump said the gunman died from his injuries. CBS News has confirmed the gunman has been identified by law enforcement as James T. Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Illinois.

An initial police report lists the gunman’s weapon as an M-4 assault rifle, CBS News has learned. Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, described the gunman to reporters as a middle-aged white male wearing a blue shirt and possibly jeans.

“My view of him was just quick behind the dugout, and then when I realized he had a line of sight into the dugout with all the members there then we obviously went back down quickly,” Flake said.

Capitol Police said officers who were part of Scalise’s security detail returned fire and wounded the shooter, who was taken into custody.

“This is a stable situation,” Michael Brown, chief of police for Alexandria, Virginia, told reporters. “At this point, there’s no additional threat. We consider this incident to be a closed incident under investigation.”

Scalise was shot in the hip, his office said in a statement. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters that Scalise was out of surgery. During the surgery, Scalise’s office said he was in stable condition. Before surgery, he spoke to his wife on the phone and was in good spirits, the statement said.

President Trump said on Twitter that Scalise “was badly injured but will fully recover.”

The other people shot include the gunman, two Capitol Police officers, Matt Mika, a former congressional staffer who now works as a lobbyist for Tyson Foods, and a staffer for Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas.

Williams was not injured in the incident, his office said in a statement. Mika was at the practice as a volunteer coach, CBS News correspondent Kris Van Cleave reports.

Brown said five people were transported from the scene for medical reasons, but he wouldn’t provide details on their conditions. George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C., said it was treating two patients in critical condition. U.S. Capitol Police Chief Matthew Verderosa told reporters that his injured officers were in good condition and had not suffered life-threatening injuries.

In a statement earlier, Mr. Trump said he and Vice President Mike Pence were monitoring developments closely.

“We are deeply saddened by this tragedy,” Mr. Trump said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the members of Congress, their staffs, Capitol Police, first responders, and all others affected.”

Mr. Trump is planning to make a public statement about the shooting, CBS News has confirmed. The White House had earlier canceled a speech the president was supposed to deliver at the Department of Labor.

The shooting occurred at a baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia, where lawmakers and others were gathered for a morning practice.

“We were doing batting practice,” said Flake. “All of a sudden we heard a very loud shot. The gunman was over by the third base dugout with a clear view of the field.” He said the gunman had “a rifle of some sort … a lot of ammo.”

Flake said the gunman was initially out in the open.

“Marty, our photographer, saw him raise the gun for the first time, the rifle, but he said he thought, ‘Why in the world is somebody bird-hunting out here at this time,'” Flake said.

Rep. Mike Bishop, R-Mich., said Scalise was at second base when he was shot.

“I was looking right at him,” Bishop told CBS Detroit radio station WWJ. “He was a sitting duck.”

Rep. Mo Brooks, an Alabama Republican, said two law enforcement officers were believed to be among the others shot.

Brooks said that Scalise, 51, was down on the ground with what Brooks described as “a hip wound.” The Alabama lawmaker said his colleague “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.

The practice was for a bipartisan baseball game scheduled for Thursday. According to a source, when Democratic members of Congress practicing at a different ballfield miles away heard of the shooting, they immediately stopped and said a prayer together, CBS News senior investigative producer Pat Milton reports.

House Speaker Paul Ryan’s office said Scalise’s wounds were not believed to be life-threatening and that a member of the security detail was also shot.

Scalise is the No. 3 House Republican leader. He was first elected to the House in 2008 after serving in the state legislature.

Katie Filous was walking her two dogs near the field when she heard “a lot of shots, probably more than 20.” She said the shooting “went on for quite a while.”

Filous said she saw the shooter hit a uniformed law enforcement officer, who she said was later evacuated by helicopter. She said the officer had gotten out of a parked car, drawn a handgun and shouted something to the gunman, who then fired.

Rep. Jeff Duncan said in a statement that he was at the practice and “saw the shooter.”

“Please pray for my colleagues,” Duncan said.

Comments

One Comment

  1. What happened to the liberal of yesterday? They used to be about peace, love, and granola. Now they swing a club and shoot their opponents. Democrats are unhinged and violent……Never vote Democratic again.

    Liberals are sick people. They have no morals or ethics. Obama and his liberal cronies hate the Constitution and free market capitalism. They do nothing but bleed the middle class dry.

    My tax rate is 40% and my healthcare is now $700 per month thanks to Obamacare. My car insurance is still just $25/month (thanks to Insurance Panda), but if you look at Democrat strongholds like Detroit and New Orleans, where car insurance will run you $300+ per month, it’s easy to be pessimistic about the future of the United Socialist States of America.

    The cultural Marxists have really done a number on Western youth, haven’t they? What a bunch of sick people.

    1. The left thinks that if you don’t vote for them then there must be something wrong with you. They think of themselves as the smartest, wisest, and simply the best at everything. There is no one higher. If you disagree with them, then you must be some kind of stupid, uneducated mouth breather who is simply too dumb to recognize their wisdom and greatness.

      When they don’t get their way and lose multiple subsequent elections, there must be something wrong with the electorate that is too dumb to recognise the clear superiority of the Dem party.

      This is not your 1950’s Democratic party that cared about the common man. Just google the assets of Dems and Republican politicians and you will see that Dems are much richer then Reps.

  2. After decades of being an Independent conservative, today I changed my party affiliation to Republican.

    Enough is enough! The left has been pushing violence against conservatives since the last election. Apparently fake news, lies, rampant riots, vandalism, and assaults were not enough, so now the left has moved up to shooting their political opponents. That’s right, if you can’t beat them at the ballot box, kill them. That’s how the new Democratic Party of losers operates.

    Dems have been losing elections for years now. The people do NOT want Dems in power, but Dems will blame anyone but themselves for their epic losses at the ballot box.

    What is the Democrats’ message these days? Get rid of Trump. Do whatever it takes to get him out! THIS IS NOT THE WAY TO RUN A COUNTRY! Where is the Democratic message to counter the Republicans? Removing Trump would change nothing. Dems will still be losers, no matter what. The only thing I hear from the left is the talk about the collusion (fake news) and obstruction of justice (this is a new one after the collusion lie fell apart).

    Democrats will lose even more ground in the next election. The people see right thought the lies of the media, they see the raw hatred of the left, and they are tired of violence against Republicans. This vicious assault is actually a gift for Republicans.

    There is no hatred stronger than the hatred of the “tolerant” left.

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