Breaking News!!: Alexandria, VA: Rifle-wielding attacker opened fired on Republican lawmakers at a congressional baseball practice.
Rifle-wielding attacker opened fired on Republican lawmakers at a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia on Wednesday, June 14th, 2017 wounding House GOP Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana and several others as congressmen and aides dove for cover.
The shooting occurred at around 7:00am ET during baseball practice for an annual bipartisan charity baseball game.
Republicans were practicing for the annual baseball game against Democrats that has been held since 1909.
Witnesses reported hearing at least 50 gunshots were fired.
Sen. Rand Paul describes the scene at the baseball practice to MSNBC where House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was shot.
Witnesses said the Republican lawmaker was standing at second base when he was hit in the left hip.
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.
Scalise 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. He is grateful for the brave actions of U.S. Capitol Police, first responders, and colleagues.” the office for Scalise said in a statement.
The 51 year old Scalise is the No. 3 House Republican leader first elected to the House in 2008.
United States of America President Donald Trump spoke to the nation from the White House about the shooting.
“Everyone on that field is a public servant. Their sacrifice makes democracy possible,” said United States of America President Donald Trump.
United States of America President Donald Trump later said, “Congressman Scalise is a friend, and a very good friend, he’s a patriot and he’s a fighter. He will recover from this assault 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. America is praying for you and America is praying for all of the victims of this terrible shooting.”
United States of America President Donald Trump is calling for unity, saying we are strongest when we work together for the common good.
“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 a nation of safety and peace, and that we are strongest when we are unified and when we work together for the common good,” said United States of America President Donald Trump.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said, “We are united in our shock, we are united in our anguish. An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us. For all the noise and all the fury, we are one family… I ask each of you to join me to resolve to come together to lift each other up and to show the country, to show the world, that we are one House, the people’s House, united in our humanity. It is that humanity which will win the day and it always will.”
House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi said of Rep. Scalise, “For this person to take this action was so cowardly. It seems particularly sad that at a time when people want us to come together… that this assault would be made. But we cannot let that be a victory for the assailant or anyone who would think that way… We will use this occasion as one that brings us together and not separates us further.”
Texas Rep. Roger Williams, who coaches the GOP team, said that one of his aides, Zack Barth, was shot during the shooting, but is doing well and is expected to make a full recovery.
The assailant, prepared with a lot of ammo, fought a gun battle with authorities before the attacker was shot and later died.
Authorities are saying that this was an isolated incident and there is no additional threat.
Law enforcement and government officials identified the shooter as 66 year old James. T. Hodgkinson from Belleville, Illinois.
The law enforcement officials said the shooter was heard asking, “Are these the Republicans or the Democrats?”, raising questions about the gunman’s political motivations, but law enforcement officials at the scene said that piece of the investigation remains unclear.
According to public records, James. T. Hodgkinson, a licensed home inspector who ran his business out of his Illinois home, has a history of arrests and was charged in 2006 with assaulting a woman.
At the time, authorities recovered a pocket knife, hair they say was pulled out of the woman’s head, and a 12-gauge shotgun at the scene of the alleged attack.
According to public records, the charges, domestic battery, aggravated discharge of a firearm, and battery, were later dismissed.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said that 2 firearms, a rifle and a handgun, were recovered from the scene.
** ZachNews sends our thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of the victims of the shooting and hoping that everybody will recover soon. **
** Pictures from NBC News: **