Gunman shoots top Republican leader at baseball practice; suspect arrested

Congressman Mo Brooks, R-AL, said they were practicing for an upcoming charity baseball game with Democratic lawmakers, when "50 to 100 shots were fired".

The shooting suspect has been identified as James T. Hodgkinson of Belleville, Ill., two federal law enforcement sources confirm to NPR's Carrie Johnson. They were roommates in a Washington house Shimkus owns.

According to the Washington Post, Hodgkinson was charged in April 2006 with battery and aiding damage to a motor vehicle, but the charges were dismissed. His home inspection license expired in November 2016 and was not renewed, state records show. He said two of the wounded were congressional staffers.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana was shot Wednesday at a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia, officials said.

Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, a true friend and patriot, was badly injured but will fully recover.

The team was taking batting practice when gunshots rang out and chaos erupted. At this point of the investigation there are no links to terrorism, officials said.

"I believe that there's such a hatefulness in what we see in American politics and policy discussions right now".

The representative said practice usually begins about six weeks before the game.

Scalise was coherent the whole time, Flake said.

"My guess is that we will still suit up and still play. Steve, I want you to know, you have the prayers of not only an entire city, but an entire nation behind you and, frankly, the entire world".

"Thank God for @CapitolPolice who do a unsafe & often thankless job every day, but today displayed incredible heroism & likely saved lives", Gallagher tweeted.

When Scalise was shot he went down on the infield between first and second base, then dragged himself into the grassy outfield as the incident unfolded, leaving a trail of blood, Brooks said.

"There is a reason he is a whip. he is one of the nicest guys you could ever meet", Bost said.

"We reported to police that there was a gentleman that confronted us when we were going to our auto and he wanted to know whether it was Republicans or Democrats that were out there".

Police said a suspect in the shooting was in custody.

Bost also took to Twitter to offer his sympathies.

Authorities refused to confirm that identification at a mid-morning press conference.

"Please pray for my colleagues", Duncan said.

Neither U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan nor members of his staff were at the baseball field where a House colleague and three other people were shot and wounded Wednesday morning, according to his spokeswoman. Wednesday is also Trump's birthday. U.S. Capitol Police officers are being widely praised for helping to stop the attack. Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas, said a member of his staff was among the wounded, and his spokesman said the staffer was in stable condition.

A total of five people were shot before the gunman was stopped.

"All we would have had would have been baseball bats versus a rifle", he added.

The shooting happened as Republican members of Congress were getting ready for the annual Congressional Baseball Game, which was scheduled for Thursday in Washington.

Grothman said security would not typically follow a member of Congress to an event like this but because of Scalise's position as House majority whip, he had a detail with him.

Scalise has forged a close relationship with President Donald Trump, working together on the House health care bill and a pending effort to overhaul the tax code.

  • Larry Hoffman