Five Shot and Wounded at Congressional Baseball Practice

    Photo courtesy ABC15 Arizona

    In the early hours of the morning on Wednesday, a gunman opened fire on US Congressmen at a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia. Five were wounded in the assault, one of them Rep. Steve Scalise. Rep. Scalise, Majority Whip and thus the third-ranking Republican in the House, was shot in the hip. Immediately thereafter he was rushed to the hospital and underwent surgery, where he remains in critical condition.

    House Speaker Paul Ryan identified the other injured victims during a speech on Wednesday as Zack Barth, legislative correspondent for Texas Rep. Roger Williams, and Matt Mika, the director of government relations for Tysons Foods, as well as two Capitol police officers, Crystal Griner and David Bailey. Mika was transported to the hospital and remains in critical condition, but Barth, Griner, and Bailey are stable and all expected to make a full recovery.

    The shooting began at around 7:00 am, after a man walked up to Reps. Ron DeSantis and Jeff Duncan of Florida and South Carolina, respectively, and asked whether “it was Republicans or Democrats out there,” ABC news reports. At 7:09, Alexandria police received a call reporting gunshots in the area.

    Eyewitness Sen. Rand Paul reported he first heard a single, “isolated” shot and then a succession of firing, until Capitol police and Alexandria police officers arrived on the scene and began exchanging fire. The shooter, later identified by the FBI as James Hodgkinson of Illinois, fired over 50 shots but was eventually shot by Capitol police and died of his injuries later on Wednesday while in the hospital. Paul reports that had it not been for the Capitol police officers present for the security of the Congressmen, the shooting “would have been a massacre.”

    The motive of the shooting remains unclear; the FBI reports that it is too early to tell whether or not the attack was targeted. The congressmen at the practice were preparing for an annual bipartisan charity game set to take place the following day, which will still occur as scheduled.

    President Donald Trump gave a speech Wednesday night calling for unity and naming Rep. Scalise a “patriot” and a “fighter”, expressing confidence in his full recovery. House Speaker Paul Ryan also voiced a sentiment of unity, saying “an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us,” a statement that aroused a standing ovation.


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