Congressman Shot at Virginia Baseball Practice, Shooter Dead

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Cong. Steve Scalise. Photo courtesy Wikipedia

A gunman opened fire on a Republican congressional baseball team practice today and wounded House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), USA Today reports. The suspect was killed. He was identified as James Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Il., a St. Louis suburb. A Facebook page belonging to a person with that name includes pictures of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, and rhetoric against President Trump, including a post that reads: “Trump is a Traitor. Trump Has Destroyed Our Democracy. It’s Time to Destroy Trump & Co.” The practice session was almost over when the shooting occurred, said Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN). “I heard a bang, and I thought it sounded like a gun. I never saw a shooter,” he said. “I heard him. I was close to the damn thing. Some of our people have been hit. This is horrible. I got bloody running and jumping into the dugout.” The shooter reportedly asked if Republicans or Democrats were practicing before firing shots.

The wounded also included two Capitol Police officers, a congressional aide, and a lobbyist who formerly worked in Congress, the Washington Post reports. Alexandria Police Chief Michael Brown said two of his officers engaged in “gunfire and return fire.” President Trump hailed the two wounded officers, Krystal Griner and David Bailey. “Many lives would have been lost if not for the heroic actions of the two Capitol Police officers who took down the gunman despite sustaining gunshot wounds during a very, very brutal assault,” Trump said. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) estimated that 50 to 100 shots were fired during batting practice. There were 50 to 60 people at the practice, including House members, senators and their staffs. Brooks told CNN that Scalise “was not able to move under his own power. He was dragging his body from second base. There was not a whole lot we could do. He was shot in the hip … It’s not easy when you see people around you being shot and you don’t have a weapon yourself. You feel helpless.”

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