WASHINGTON, June 14: A top House Republican, Steve Scalise of Louisiana, was shot by a rifle-wielding gunman Wednesday at a congressional baseball practice just outside of Washington. Several other people were also believed to have been hit, according to a lawmaker who witnessed the shooting.
Capitol Police said officers who were part of Scalise’s security detail returned fire and wounded the shooter, who was taken into custody.
Scalise, the House majority whip, was in stable condition at George Washington University Hospital, according to one congressional aide. His injuries were not believed to be life-threatening. It was not known the condition of the others who were shot.
President Donald Trump said he was “deeply saddened by this tragedy” and was monitoring developments.
The shooting occurred at a baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia, where lawmakers and others were gathered for a morning practice.
“We were doing batting practice,” said Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. “All of a sudden we heard a very loud shot. The gunman was over by the third base dugout with a clear view of the field.” He said the gunman had “a rifle of some sort ... a lot of ammo.”
Rep. Mike Bishop, R-Mich., said Scalise was at second base when he was shot.
“I was looking right at him,” Bishop told Detroit radio station WWJ. “He was a sitting duck.”
Rep. Mo Brooks, an Alabama Republican, said two law enforcement officers were believed to be among the others shot.
Brooks said that Scalise, 51, was down on the ground with what Brooks described as “a hip wound.” The Alabama lawmaker said he colleague “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.
House Speaker Paul Ryan’s office said Scalise’s wounds were not believed to be life-threatening and that a member of the security detail was also shot.
Scalise is the No. 3 House Republican leader. He was first elected to the House in 2008 after serving in the state legislature.
Katie Filous was walking her two dogs near the field when she heard “a lot of shots, probably more than 20.” She said the shooting “went on for quite a while.”
Filous said she saw the shooter hit a uniformed law enforcement officer, who she said was later evacuated by helicopter. She said the officer had gotten out of a parked car, drawn a handgun and shouted something to the gunman, who then fired.
Rep. Jeff Duncan said in a statement that he was at the practice and “saw the shooter.”