Rep. Steve Scalise, others shot at congressional baseball practice

WUSA Breaking News

ALEXANDRIA, VA. - A gunman opened fire on a Republican congressional team baseball practice Wednesday and Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., was among the wounded, authorities said.

Police in Alexandria, Va., said five people were provided medical transport and that a suspect was in custody.

"Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, a true friend and patriot, was badly injured but will fully recover," President Trump tweeted. "Our thoughts and prayers are with him."

Capitol Police officers were at the practice when the shooting began and quickly returned fire, spokesman Matthew Verderosa said. Alexandria Chief Michael Brown said his officers arrived three minutes after the first emergency call, and two of them joined the gunfight.

Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas, said a member of his staff was among the wounded. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., said the baseball practice session was almost over when the shooting occurred on the field, he said.

“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.”

Fleischmann estimated there were 50 to 60 people at the practice, including House members, senators and their staffs. “Many have been shot, but a lot like me got bloody running for cover,” he said.

“It is just a madhouse here,” Fleischmann said. “It’s horrible. I’ve never experienced anything like that.”

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who was at the scene, said several people were shot but that Scalise was the only House member wounded.

"We heard a very loud shot" during batting practice," Flake said. Then many more shots, and Capitol Police returned fire.

Scalise spokesman Chris Bond said he would be checking with the hospital throughout the day for updates on the condition of the congressman and the other wounded people.

“Right now everyone is focused on praying," Bond said.

Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., told CNN, people scattered when the shooting began. Scalise was standing in the in the infield and fell where he stood.

"He was not able to move under his own power. He was dragging his body from second base," Brooks said. "There was not a whole lot we could do. He was shot in the hip. I think it was not a life-threatening wound."

"It's not easy when you see people around you being shot and you don't have a weapon yourself," Brooks said. "You feel helpless."

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said President Trump and Vice President Pence were aware of the incident.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with all affected," he said.

The shooting took place at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park, in the Del Ray section of Alexandria — a quiet community made up of restaurants, small businesses, lots of families. It's considered a "safe" neighborhood where people walk around outside until late at night. The field serves as a community hub, with games and activities at all hours.

The team of Republican congressman and staff members were practicing for a charity baseball game scheduled for later this week against a Democratic team. Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., said his team was practicing when they heard about the attack on the Republicans.

"We're safe & with police, everyone praying for GOP colleagues, staff & Cap police," Huffman tweeted.

 

Contributing: Michael Collins, Deborah Berry, Susan Miller, Eliza Collins

© 2017 USATODAY.COM


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