Suspect dead; several hurt in GOP baseball shooting

Suspect dead; several injured in shooting at GOP baseball practice

WASHINGTON — A shooting injured several people, including the House majority whip, at a congressional baseball practice near Washington D.C. Wednesday morning.

It happened at Simpson Park on the 400 block of East Monroe Street in Alexandria around 7 a.m.

The Victims
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House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was injured in the shooting. He originally released a statement saying he was shot in the hip but was stable.

<p>House Majority Whip Steve Scalise</p>

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise

"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 statement said.

However, George Washington University Hospital tweeted Wednesday afternoon that Scalise is now in critical condition.

Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., said several other people were also hit, including two law enforcement officers. The Capitol Hill police officers were part of Scalise's security detail. They are both in good condition and expected to recover, the Capitol Hill police chief said.

Sen. Roger Williams confirmed that one of his staffers was among those shot. Zack Barth is expected to make a full recovery.

I now can confirm that Zack Barth, who is a legislative correspondent in my office, was shot this morning at baseball...

Posted by Roger Williams on Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Tyson Foods confirmed that the other man shot was Matt Mika, their director of government relations in Washington.

What happened on the field

At least 21 members of Congress along with aides and family members were at the baseball practice at the time of the shooting, according to ABC News.

Two congressman who were leaving the field said they ran into the suspect minutes before the shooting.

"A gentleman walked up to us and wanted to know whether there were Republicans or Democrats practicing out there. Congressman Duncan said that it was Republicans," Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., said.

Sen. Rand Paul, who was at the scene during the shooting, told ABC News that he heard multiple shots at the scene and saw Scalise fall after being shot. He said the shooter was near the dugout during the shooting.

Paul told ABC News that the Capitol police officers fired back at the gunman.

“Through their heroic efforts and others, they saved a lot of lives today,” Gov. Terry McAuliffe said about the Capitol police officers.

Alexandria police received a call about the active shooter at 7:09 a.m. and were on scene within three minutes. They exchanged gunfire with the shooter, according to the police chief.

The shooter died at the hospital, President Trump said in a news conference Wednesday.

The Suspect

The FBI identified the shooter as James T. Hodgkinson, 66. They said he died of multiple gunshot wounds to the torso.

<p>James T. Hodgkinson (Credit: ABC News)&nbsp;</p>

James T. Hodgkinson (Credit: ABC News) 

Agents say he had one handgun and one rifle on him at the time of the shooting.

He is from Belleville, Illinois, but had been living in Alexandria since March. Agents believe he was living in his van and they are asking for the community's help to learn about his activity over the past several months.

Authorities are also investigating his social media posts.

Sen. Bernie Sanders said that Hodgkinson apparently volunteered on his campaign. Sanders said he is "sickened by this despicable act."

Several congressman on the field at time of shooting

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

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

Brooks said that Scalise “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.

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

Georgia Rep. Barry Loudermilk and his aides were on the field during the shooting but said that they are OK.

The FBI is leading the investigation into the shooting.

President Trump speaks about shooting

President Trump released a statement on the shooting:

"The Vice President and I are aware of the shooting incident in Virginia and are monitoring developments closely. 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."

The President visited the hospital where Scalise is being treated Wednesday night.

Democrats' practice was happening nearby

Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) is the coach of the Democrats' Congressional baseball team, which was practicing a few miles away at the time of the shooting.

Doyle said he and about 20 members of the team were on the field when he got a text asking, "Are you OK?"

With no security or police at their field, Doyle said he quickly rushed all of his lawmaker players to the dugout to take cover. He said they cried and prayed together for the injured.

"Everybody got very silent, huddled up and we started saying prayers for our Republican colleagues," Doyle said. "It just makes you shake your head and just wonder what's going on in the world. There's just so many people angry and acting up like this and it's got to stop."