Alexandria police have reported a shooting Wednesday morning involving Republican members of Congress. The shooting occurred in a park in Alexandria, Virginia, as GOP members were at baseball practice. Police have stated that several people were injured including at least one lawmaker, Steve Scalise, the majority whip. Congressman Scalise was initially listed in stable condition with a gunshot wound to the hip, but has been downgraded to critical after surgery.
Police and witnesses have also reported that two Capital Police Officers were wounded during the incident. Alexandria Police Chief Michael Brown stated that two of his police officers responded to the incident and engaged the shooter in an exchange of gunfire before he was wounded and taken into custody.
President Trump, in a speech to the American people, has confirmed that the suspected shooter has died. Police Chief Michael Brown further stated that five people were taken to local hospitals, but he was not specific on any injuries that they might have sustained during the incident.
Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) tweeted that a “shooter attacked a GOP baseball practice. Rifle. 50+ shots fired. 5 hit including Steve Scalise. I am not shot.” Brooks estimated 50 to 100 shots were fired during batting practice.
Brooks further stated that he heard a loud “bam” then he turned and saw a person with a rifle. Then he heard more gun shots, and realized that there was still an active shooter. Books continued by stating that he heard Steve Scalise near the second base screaming, that he was shot. GOP members were at practice for an upcoming charity baseball game against Democrats.
Brooks said the gunfire continued as he ran to the first-base side and hid behind a batting cage. Brooks said that he saw Scalise crawled out of the outfield leaving a trail of blood, during the shooting.
Scalise, 51, is reported as being in critical condition at this time. Scalise is the representative from Louisiana, and is the third-highest ranking House Republican. Scalise has a round-the-clock Capitol Police detail and it is believed that the two Capital Police Officers that were wounded during the shooting were part of his detail.
The suspected shooter has been identified as 66-year-old James Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois. Hodgkinson wrote on Facebook, “Trump is a Traitor. Trump Has Destroyed Our Democracy. It’s Time to Destroy Trump & Co.” Political associations are being investigated as a possible motive to the shooting. His wife told a local new agency that her husband “James Hodgkinson” had been living in Alexandria, Virginia, for the last few months. She further stated that he had not been able to find work and was going to move back to Illinois soon.
The park where the shooting happened is about 7 miles from the White House. As a result of this morning’s shooting the Capitol Police have cleared the East Plaza in front of the Capitol. The police can be seen heavily armed and actively patrolling the area.