Four people were shot at a GOP baseball practice in a Virginia Park on Wednesday morning when a gunman opened fire.
Rep. Steve Scalise, House Majority Whip was among those wounded. Scalise was shot in the hip, along with an aide, and 2 Capitol Police, before the shooter was brought down by law enforcement.
The shooting occurred around 7:15 am as a group practiced batting at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in Alexandria, Virginia. Suddenly a gunman, 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson, opened fire on what seemed to be a targeted attack on the group, as a witness stated the gunman asked if they were Republicans or Democrats. The shooting lasted about 10 minutes before the gunman was shot and by Capitol Police officers.
From Fox News:
The shooter, John T. Hodgkinson, fired up to 100 rounds from the third base dugout at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in Alexandria, Virginia, as the group practiced batting at around 7am.
Hodgkinson was eventually brought down by Capitol Police officers who were accompanying Scalise. Hodgkinson died from his injuries after being taken into custody and treated at a local hospital.
A congressional staffer for Texas Rep. Roger Williams and two Capitol Police officers were shot. Senator Rand Paul, who was at the scene but was not injured, described it as a ‘killing field’.
Hodgkinson asked the group if they were Republicans or Democrats before opening fire, Florida Rep. Ron DeSantis said.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was shot and multiple congressional aides were also hit by Hodgkinson who possessed a rifle and opened fire at a GOP baseball practice in Virginia Wednesday morning, Fox News confirmed.
Scalise was in stable condition. Five people were “transported medically” from the scene, Alexandria Police Chief Michael Brown said.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., told Fox News: “We were like sitting ducks.”
“Without the Capitol Hill police it would have been a massacre,” Paul said, describing the scene as “sort of a killing field.”
Hodgkinson was shot by U.S. Capitol Police, apprehended and taken to the hospital, officials said. Sen. Mike Lee told Fox News. The incident occurred at Simpson Field in Alexandria, about 10 miles from Washington D.C.
“The vice president and I are aware of the shooting incident in Virginia and are monitoring developments closely,” President Trump said in a statement. “We are deeply saddened by this tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the members of Congress, their staffs, Capitol Police, first responders and all others affected.”
Trump later tweeted: “Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, a true friend and patriot, was badly injured but will fully recover. Our thoughts and prayers are with him.”
The Department of Homeland Security was monitoring the episode and the FBI was also involved.
Rep. Roger Williams, R-Tex., was seen being taken from the field on a stretcher, but he was reportedly injured while jumping into the dugout as the shots rang out. Williams’ office released a statement saying a staffer had been shot, however.
“Finally, the shooter was shot behind home plate as he was circling around to the first base dugout where there were a number of US congressmen and other folks,” Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., told FMTALK1065. “Our security detail was able to incapacitate him at that point. I don’t know if he [the shooter] was dead. He was wounded. I don’t know how many times he was wounded.”
Brooks reportedly used a belt as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding of an aide who was shot in the leg. Two law enforcement officers were also injured, including one who was hit in the leg, Brooks said.
Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., told Fox News he left just before the shooting. As he walked to his car, a man asked DeSantis if it was Republicans or Democrats practicing. About 3 minutes later, at around 7:15 a.m., the shooting began, DeSantis said. It reportedly lasted about 10 minutes.
Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, told Fox News he “felt like I was in Iraq, but without my weapon.”
Scalise was shot in the hip, sources told Fox News.
“Behind third base, I see a rifle…I hear Steve Scalise over near 2nd base scream,” Brooks said. “…While all of this is going on, Steve Scalise our whip was lying on the ground near the second base position crawling into right field, leaving a trail of blood.”
Brooks said the gunman was using the dugout as cover and estimated the assailant got off 50-100 shots during the attack on the 15-25 people gathered at the field.
“We were there within 3 minutes,” Brown said. “Two of our officers engaged in gunfire and returned fire.”
Aside from Scalise, Williams, Paul, Brooks, Wenstrup and DeSantis, Sen. Jeff Flake and Reps. Mike Bishop, Jack Bergman, Chuck Fleischmann and Joe Barton were also at the field. A photographer and Bishop’s aides were present, too.
Alexandria schools were placed on lockdown as the incident unfolded.
Scalise, 51, is the House Majority Whip. He has represented Louisiana’s 1st Congressional District since 2008 and chairs the House Republican Study Committee. He is married with two children. Scalise’s district includes New Orleans.
Michigan Rep. Mike Bishop described how one man – thought to be one of Scalise’s Capitol Police Officers – stood his ground to return fire as the congressmen dragged himself across the field after being hit, leaving a trail of blood behind him.
He said: ‘The only reason why any of us walked out of this thing, by the grace of God, one of the folks here had a weapon to fire back and give us a moment to find cover.
‘We were inside the backstop and if we didn’t have that cover by a brave person who stood up and took a shot themselves, we would not have gotten out of there and every one of us would have been hit — every single one of us.
‘He was coming around the fence line and he was looking for all of us who had found cover in different spots. But if we didn’t have return fire right there, he would have come up to each one of us and shot us point-blank.’
The group was practicing for a charity match which is due to take place on Thursday at Nationals Park when they were attacked.
The Congressional Baseball Game is scheduled for June 15 at Nationals Park. The game has been a tradition since 1909. It pits Senate and House members of each party who sport the uniform of their home state. It’s a charity event.
The story is still developing.