Mass shooting at congressional baseball practice in Virginia

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) among those wounded.

Rep. Jack Bergman (R-MI) talks on the phone while walking past a damaged vehicle at the scene of the shooting in Alexandria. CREDIT: AP Photo/Cliff Owen
Rep. Jack Bergman (R-MI) talks on the phone while walking past a damaged vehicle at the scene of the shooting in Alexandria. CREDIT: AP Photo/Cliff Owen

Shortly after 7 a.m. on Wednesday, a shooter opened fire in Alexandria, Virginia at a baseball practice ahead of the annual congressional baseball game, which is scheduled for Thursday night.

Fox News confirmed that among the victims were House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) and his aides.

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), who was at the practice and witnessed the shooting, shared his account of what happened with reporters.

Brooks subsequently told CNN that Scalise was “dragging his body” away from the infield of the ball field after he was shot. He said the shooter, who appeared to be a middle-aged white man, opened fire from behind a dugout and injured roughly five people, including two members of a security detail and Scalise.

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“I heard Steve Scalise scream. He was shot,” Brooks said, adding that he believes the suspect was shot by a Capitol Police officer.

ABC later reported that Scalise’s injury isn’t life-threatening, while Reuters reported that two Capitol Hill police officers who were shot are in stable condition.

Scalise’s office later released a statement saying Scalise underwent surgery for a wound to his hip but “was in good spirits.”

Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) was at the practice as well. After the shooting, he called Fox News and said that while he was getting in a car to leave, “There was a guy who walked up to us that was asking whether there was Republican or Democrats out there and it was just a little odd, and then he kinda walked toward the area where all of this happened.”

DeSantis added, however, that he wasn’t sure if the man who walked up to him was the shooter, and there are conflicting reports about what the shooter was wearing.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) told ABC he was on the field when he heard a “burst of gunfire.” During an earlier interview on MSNBC, Paul said, “Everybody probably would have died except for the fact that the Capitol Police were there” because of Scalise’s leadership status.

One member of Congress told a HuffPost reporter that he may have spoken with the shooter before shots rang out.

Alexandria police report that the gunman is in custody. The shooting appears to be a “deliberate attack,” CNN reported, citing both congressional and law enforcement sources.

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Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) told reporters that two members of Scalise’s security detail were shot, including an African-American man who was “shot in the leg.”

“I believe he’s the one that brought the shooter down,” Flake said. “He ran around for quite a while with a leg wound returning fire.”

The coach of the Republican baseball team, Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX), released a statement indicating a member of his staff was shot.

Rep. Mike Bishop (R-MI) told a Detroit radio station that “a gunman walked up to the fence line and just began to shoot.”

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“I was standing at home plate and he was in the third base line,” Bishop continued. “He had a rifle that was clearly meant for the job of taking people out, multiple casualties, and he had several rounds and magazines that he kept unloading and reloading.”

“He was coming around the fence line and he was looking for all of us who had found cover in different spots,” Bishop added. “But if we didn’t have return fire right there, he would have come up to each one of us and shot us point-blank.”

President Trump released a statement about the incident.

Trump also updated Scalise’s condition on Twitter.

While most elected officials steered clear of attempting to turn breaking news about the shooting into a partisan issue, Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) told a Buffalo radio station, “I can only hope that the Democrats do tone down the rhetoric.”

Donald Trump Jr., meanwhile, linked the shooting with New York’s Public Theater’s controversial production of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” — a play meant to illustrate the futility of political violence.

As of 11 a.m., authorities haven’t confirmed any details about the assailant or his motivations, though the Washington Post reports his name is James Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Illinois. Hodgkinson appears to have posted anti-Trump posts on his Facebook page.

During a statement issued just after 11:30 a.m., President Trump announced that the gunman died from his injuries.