Culture

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise Has Been Shot In A ‘Deliberate Attack’ At Congressional Baseball Practice

(Note: We will provide updates to this story at the bottom of this post.)

Early Wednesday morning, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) was shot, along with two Capitol Hill officers, in what authorities believe was a “deliberate attack” at Congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia. In this CNN video clip, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) describes what he witnessed when a gunman opened fire near the third-base dugout: “I see a rifle … I hear another blam … at the same time I heard Steve Scalise scream … he was shot.” Brooks then relayed how the shooter, who was wielding a semi-automatic rifle, continued his attack with at least 50 shots fired.

At this time, Scalise (who was shot in the hip) and the two officers are in stable condition. However, Fox News reports that “multiple congressional aides” may have also been stuck by gunfire. The New York Times updates the number of casualties to five people, although the severity of these victims’ injuries are not yet known.

ABC News reports that police have taken a suspect into custody, and there’s no ongoing danger to the public. Authorities are not yet aware of the gunman’s motive, although members of Congress were preparing for a charity game when the attack occurred.

In the below video, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) declared — with “absolute certainty” — that no one on the scene would have “survived without Capitol Hill police.” He believes the situation would have turned into a full-on massacre without quick law enforcement action.

The mayhem spread to the neighboring YMCA building, and Joseph Miscavige shared these photos as he sheltered in place.

As news of this violent incident broke this morning, Gabby Giffords (who survived a 2011 assassination attempt at a town hall meeting) began to trend on Twitter. She expressed sympathy for her former colleagues who were injured and praised the heroism of Capitol Hill police.

President Trump also tweeted about the attack with unusual restraint.

Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) was overcome with emotion while discussing what he witnessed. He says the gunman was not only carrying a rifle but a handgun.

Will Drabold posted a video interview of an eyewitness describing panic at the scene as the crowd fled the field.

CNN tweeted a photo of House Democrats praying for Scalise and the other victims of this senseless attack.

NBC News’ Bradd Jaffy relayed a statement from Scalise’s office. The congressman is currently undergoing surgery but was “in good spirits” after his arrival at the hospital (he has since left surgery and is recovering).

UPDATE #1 – 10:50am EST: The Washington Post reports that police have identified the gunman as James T. Hodgkinson:

Hodgkinson, 66, owns a home inspection business. His home inspection license expired in November 2016 and was not renewed, state records show.

Hodgkinson was charged in April 2006 with battery and aiding damage to a motor vehicle, according to online records in St. Clair County, Illinois. The charges were dismissed, records show.

UPDATE #2 – 11:00am EST: The Washington Post also reports that Hodgkinson was estranged from his wife and campaigned for Bernie Sanders in Iowa during the presidential primaries. Fellow campaign worker Charles Orear described Hodgkinson as “very mellow, very reserved.”

UPDATE #3 – 11:30am EST: Congressional aide Zack Barth has identified himself as one of the injured.

UPDATE #4 – 11:30am EST: During an address to the nation, President Trump announced that the gunman has died from his wounds.

UPDATE #5 – 11:30am EST: The Daily Beast reports that Hodgkinson conducted “target practice” by shooting at trees outside his home a few months ago, according to police. He also has a history of domestic violence, and allegedly abused his foster daughters:

Hodgkinson was the foster the father of at least two girls. The first, Wanda Ashley Stock, 17, committed suicide in 1996 by pouring gasoline on herself and setting herself on fire after a few months of living with the Hodgkinsons, the Belleville News-Democrat reports … In 2002, Hodgkinson became the foster father of another girl whom he allegedly abused, according to police record … In 2006, he was arrested for domestic battery and discharge of a firearm after he stormed into a neighbor’s home where his teenage foster daughter was visiting with a friend. In a skirmish, he punched his foster daughter’s then 19-year-old friend.

You can read all of the terrible details at The Beast.

This post is developing, and we will continue to provide updates.

(Via CNN, Fox News, New York Times & Washington Post)

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