GOP Congressman, Several Others Shot At Baseball Practice In Virginia

CHICAGO (CBS) — A top Republican congressman was among at least five people wounded when a gunman opened fire at a baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia, as lawmakers were practicing for an annual bipartisan game. The gunman also was killed by police.

Authorities said the suspect in the shooting was in custody.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana) was shot in the hip while fielding balls at second base during batting practice at the baseball field, officials said.

Police and FBI officials said it is too early to tell if Scalise or other members of congress at the field were specifically targeted, or if the attack was an act of terrorism.

President Donald Trump said on Twitter that Scalise “was badly injured, but will fully recover.”

The gunman has been identified as 66-year-old James Hodgkinson, of Belleville, Illinois. U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) said police officers with Scalise’s security detail shot the gunman. President Trump said the gunman has died.

Flake, who was in the dugout at the time of the shooting, said the gunman had a high-powered rifle. Flake said Scalise was unable to move after he was shot, and he laid on the ground for several minutes before someone could get to him, because the gunman was still shooting.

“He dragged himself, after he was shot, from near second base about 10 or 15 yards into the field, just to be I think a little further away from the gunman; but he was laying motionless out there,” Flake said.

Once everyone learned the shooter was down, Flake said he ran out to Scalise to put pressure on his wound until medics could take him to a hospital.

Scalise’s office said he was in shot in the hip, and “in stable condition.”

The other four people who were shot were lobbyist Matt Mika, director of government relations for Tyson Foods; congressional staffer Zack Barth, an aide to U.S. Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas); and two U.S. Capitol police officers, one of whom shot the gunman.

Capitol Hill Police Chief Matthew Verderosa said the two officers who were wounded were in good condition, and their injuries were not life-threatening.

Flake said he used Scalise’s cell phone to call the congressman’s wife and inform her of the shooting.

Witnesses reported hearing between 50 and 100 gunshots. Flake said the gunman initially was out in the open, but soon took cover behind the backstop at the baseball field.

Illinois Congressmen Rodney Davis, Darin LaHood, and John Shimkus are members of the congressional charity baseball team, but LaHood and Shimkus were not at the practice. Davis was at practice, but was not wounded.

After the shooting, many members of Congress began posting messages on Twitter, offering thoughts and prayers, and assuring their own constituents they were not among the victims.

The practice was for a bipartisan baseball game scheduled for Thursday. According to a source, when Democratic members of Congress practicing at a different ballfield miles away heard of the shooting, they immediately stopped and said a prayer together, CBS News senior investigative producer Pat Milton reports.

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

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