Congress

Majority Whip Steve Scalise Shot

Five injured in attack; assailant, James T. Hodgkinson, dies from gunshot wounds (Updated) 6/14/2017 8:26 AM Eastern

Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and a staffer were shot Wednesday morning (June 14) while practicing with a GOP baseball team in Alexandria, Va.

UPDATE (2:44 p.m.): MedStar, the hospital treating Scalise, has tweeted that he is now listed in critical condition.

UPDATE (12:00 p.m.): House proceedings -- votes have been suspended -- began with an opening prayer citing the shooting and seeking support for the victims' recovery.  

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) said in opening remarks that legislators were horrified by the attack and praying for the victims and their families. "We are united," he said, in shock and anguish. "An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us," he said, to an extended standing ovation from the floor. He thanked the first responders and police, and said he was "awed" by the tremendous bravery of the Capitol Police (which also drew long applause).

Ryan said he had spoken with both U.S. Capitol Police officers who were injured and was convinced that without "those two heroes," many lives would have been lost.

He said he had complete confidence in the ongoing investigation.

Ryan said Scalese was probably frustrated that he would not be able to play in the congressional baseball game, still scheduled for Thursday (June 15).

Ryan said one image he wanted to preserve was that of Democratic colleagues praying together for the victims. He said the Congress was one family, and their brothers and sisters had been in the line of fire.

He asked his colleagues to reflect and to resolve to come together and lift each other up and show the country that they are one House, "the people's House."

Minority leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) associated herself with Ryan's remarks, something she said he probably had not heard before. She called the shooting "an injury in our family." She also called it a "cowardly" act.

UPDATE (11:40 a.m.): President Trump offered remarks from the White House on the incident. The president said the assailant -- earlier identified as James T. Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Ill. -- has died from his injuries, and that Scalise was shot and badly wounded.

"Many lives would have been lost if not for the heroic actions of the Capitol Hill police officers," President Trump said. He called it a "very, very brutal" assault. He also called Scalise a good friend, a patriot and a fighter.

UPDATE (10:40 a.m.): Scalise was shot in the hip and four others, including Capitol Police officers who engaged in gunfire with the suspect, were injured in a shooting that began at 7:09 a.m., law enforcement officials confirmed during a news conference around 10:30 a.m.

Tim Slater, FBI special agent in charge of the Washington field office, could not confirm if the shooter was among the five injured. (Update: Shortly after the press conference, the fifth victim was identified as a lobbyist for Tyson Foods who was serving as a volunteer coach.)

Slater said it is too early in the investigation to determine whether Scalise and other Republicans at the practice were targeted. The FBI is leading a joint investigation with the ATF, the Alexandria County and City Police, and the Capitol Police, Slater said.

"I am horrified by this morning’s evil, cowardly attack and am keeping all those impacted in my prayers," said Energy & Commerce Committee chair Greg Walden (R-Ore.). "The heroism of the U.S. Capitol Police and first responders undoubtedly saved lives. We are forever grateful for their bravery.

“Whip Steve Scalise is a friend, a good man, a valued member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and a true fighter," Walden added. "We pray for his quick and complete recovery, along with the others who are injured.”

Walden said the committee had postponed planned subcommittee hearings.

EARLIER: As the news broke earlier Wednesday morning, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), who was at the practice, told CNN that in addition to Scalise, a staffer was hit, as well as members of a security detail. CNN was reporting that police said the shooter was in custody.

Washington’s local TV news teams mobilized to cover the morning shooting, feeding the networks with some of the first reports from the scene.

CNN's Dana Bash was reporting the shooting as a deliberate attack. "It sure wasn't an accident," said Brooks, who was being interviewed when CNN added that update.

Scalise and others were practicing for the congressional baseball game, scheduled for Thursday (June 15). Brooks said it was pretty well known that Republicans would be practicing on the field; the practice was on legislators' calendars. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said about 25 legislators were at the practice for the charity baseball game.

MSNBC was reporting that Scalise was in stable condition at press time.

Scalise's office released the following statement:

"This morning, at a practice for the Congressional Baseball game, Whip Scalise was shot in the hip. He was transported to MedStar Washington Hospital Center, where he is currently undergoing surgery. He is in stable condition.

"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 the U.S. Capitol POlice, first responders and colleagues.

"We ask that you keep the Whip and others harmed in this incident in your thoughts and prayers."

Brooks said he was sure that the shooter, who opened fire from behind a dugout on the practice field, had a rifle, while Capitol Police had pistols, so he was afraid they were outgunned.

CBS reported that the shooter had an M4 assault rifle.

President Donald Trump said: "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 later tweeted that he thought Scalise, who was reportedly shot in the hip or leg, would be OK.

Scalise is well known in communications circles as a deregulatory-minded member of the House Communications Subcommittee.

"This morning’s shooting targeted public servants, law enforcement and other innocents," said Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.). "I am grateful for the brave response from Capitol Police and first responders and am praying for the recovery of my friend Steve Scalise and the victims of today’s attack. We cannot deny the darkness that underlies such acts of violence, and we must answer it with hope for healing."

The FBI will be handling the investigation since it was an assault on a member of Congress.

The managers of the congvressional baseball teams, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) and Rep Mike Doyle (D-Pa.), both veteran members of the Energy & Commerce Committee well known in communications circles, said the game will go on, and that C-SPAN would televise it.

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