Washington – Congressman Steve Scalise, the No. 3 Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, was in critical condition on Wednesday night after he and three others were shot as they practiced for a charity baseball game.
The gunman, who had posted angry messages against President Donald Trump and other Republicans on social media, opened fire on a group of Republican lawmakers and colleagues at a baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia, outside Washington.
He was wounded in a gunfight with Capitol Hill police at the scene and later died.
Scalise was shot in the left hip, suffering broken bones, injuries to internal organs and severe bleeding.
He underwent surgery but would need further operations, the MedStar Washington Hospital Center said.
“Rep. Steve Scalise, one of the truly great people, is in very tough shape – but he is a real fighter.
Pray for Steve!” Trump said on Twitter after visiting the hospital on Wednesday night.
The gunman, identified by police as 66-year-old James
Hodgkinson from the St. Louis suburb of Belleville, Illinois, fired repeatedly at the men playing on the baseball field on Wednesday morning.
Congressmen at the ballpark described hearing loud noises like the sound of firecrackers and 15 to 20 people lying on the ground and realizing they had only baseball bats to defend themselves against bullets.
“When he started shooting, he was shooting to kill people. And thank God he wasn’t a very good shot,” said Representative Joe Barton, the Republican team’s manager.
Also wounded were a congressional aide and one former aide who now works as a lobbyist, officials said. One Capitol Hill police officer suffered a gunshot wound and another officer twisted an ankle and was released from a hospital, police said.
“It was not only chaotic but it was a combat situation,” Alexandria Police Chief Mike Brown told reporters.