ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WDRB) -- A gunman opened fire on a GOP Congressional baseball practice early Wednesday in Alexandria, Virginia injuring several people including U. S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise.
Capitol Police confirm that Scalise and several others were hit by bullets at an early morning baseball practice. The Louisiana Republican was shot in the hip and at least one of his aides was shot in the chest. His staff released a statement saying Scalise is in "good spirits and spoke to his wife by phone" before going to surgery. He also praised the efforts of U. S. Capitol Police and other first responders.
President Donald Trump says that Rep. Steve Scalise was "badly injured" in the shooting but says he will "fully recover."
Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, a true friend and patriot, was badly injured but will fully recover. Our thoughts and prayers are with him.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 14, 2017
Capitol Police said earlier that Texas Representative Roger Williams was shot, but Williams tweeted shortly after that he was not shot. But one of his aides was shot.
Please keep the member of my staff and all members of the congressional baseball team in your thoughts and prayers pic.twitter.com/wH4b6wXQhs— Rep. Roger Williams (@RepRWilliams) June 14, 2017
The gunman opened fire with a rifle during a Congressional baseball team practice. Alexandria police said in a tweet that the gunman is in custody and no longer a threat.
ALERT: APD investigating multiple shooting 400 block E Monroe St. Suspect believed in custody. Stay from area, let emergency vehicles thru.— Alexandria Police (@AlexandriaVAPD) June 14, 2017
Senator Jeff Flake says the gunman had "a rifle of some sort" and "a lot of ammo." Flake says Scalise was playing second base, when he was shot by a man standing off the third-base side of the field. He says Scalise dragged himself into the outfield to get farther away from the shooting.
Huffington Post reporter Sam Stein reports that Kentucky U. S. Senator Rand Paul was part of the baseball game. He tweets that "Rand Paul said staffers were laying down and shooter was hitting the dirt around them."
Another tweet from Senator Paul said "after 1st shot there was a rapid succession of shots… saw Scalise shot but moving. “trying to drag himself through the dirt"
Senator Paul tells Fox News that he "believes that without the Capitol Police this would have been a massacre." He says everyone at the practice was a "sitting duck" in the open field. Paul says he and his staff were in right field, when bullets started hitting the dirt around him.
Paul said he never saw the shooter, but the shooter was near the dugout. He said there were at least 50 or 60 shots, and others told him that the shooter had a rifle. Paul says two Capitol Police officers with Scalise started returning fire."These guys are real heroes. I think without these guys a lot of people would have been killed."
Paul said there seemed to be a danger to stay or run, but he decided to run when, Capitol police started returning fire and gunman. The man appeared to be going from the dugout to home plate. Paul said they were not close enough to help the wounded, and they didn’t have a gun to defend themselves.
Rand Paul said staffers were laying down and the shooter was hitting the dirt around them.— Sam Stein (@samsteinhp) June 14, 2017
Paul later released a statement about the shooting and his thanks to law enforcement.
"As you have likely heard a gunman with a rifle opened fire on Congressmen, Senators, staff and police this morning. I was there and am shaken but unharmed. Many people likely would have died this morning if not for the bravery of the Capitol Police. My thanks to them are inadequate but heartfelt. They never hesitated to put their lives on the line to save everyone. Please pray for those who were injured." - Senator Rand Paul
U.S. Senate Majority leader Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell tweeted that "My prayers are with those wounded this morning & their families. Continued appreciation to Capitol Police & first responders."
My prayers are with those wounded this morning & their families. Continued appreciation to Capitol Police & first responders.— Leader McConnell (@SenateMajLdr) June 14, 2017
Third District Representative from Kentucky John Yarmuth was not at the baseball practice, according to his spokesman Christopher Schuler. He says Yarmuth's staff is all safe and accounted for. He tweeted that "My staff and I are all safe. Thinking of my colleagues, Capitol Police officers, & all involved in this horrific incident.
My staff and I are all safe. Thinking of my colleagues, Capitol Police officers, & all involved in this horrific incident.— Rep. John Yarmuth (@RepJohnYarmuth) June 14, 2017
Indiana U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly tweets that he was practicing with the Democratic Congressional baseball team in Washington, D.C., so he is okay. But he says his thoughts are with his colleagues.
(1/2) I am shocked & praying for the safety & recovery of my friend Steve Scalise & all the others shot, including the officers. -Joe— Senator Joe Donnelly (@SenDonnelly) June 14, 2017
Kentucky First District Representative James Comer is not on the Congressional Baseball Team, so he was not at the practice where the shooting occurred. But Comer released a statement offering his support.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Congressman Steve Scalise and the others wounded in the cowardly shooting this morning. The Capitol Police acted bravely and ended a very tragic situation from getting worse. - Rep. James Comer, 1st Ky.
Kentucky Sixth District Representative Andy Barr released a statement expressing gratitude for the Capitol Hill Police and law enforcement. He also offered his support for those injured.
“Carol and I offer our thoughts and prayers to my good friend House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, his wife Jennifer and their children, as well as to my other colleagues, the staff members and law enforcement officers affected by this morning’s shooting and to their families. We pray for their full and speedy recovery.” - Andy Barr, 6th Ky.
Scalise is the first member of Congress to be shot since former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords was shot in January 2011. Giffords was shot in the head by Jared Lee Loughner at a "Congress On Your Corner" event at a Tucson grocery store. Giffords, who authorities said was the main target of the shooting, survived the attack but six others were killed and an additional 12 were injured.
Giffords tweeted that "My heart is with my former colleagues, their families & staff, and the US Capitol Police-public servants and heroes today and every day."
My heart is with my former colleagues, their families & staff, and the US Capitol Police- public servants and heroes today and every day.— Gabrielle Giffords (@GabbyGiffords) June 14, 2017
Capitol Hill Police notified congressional offices that the security presence on the Hill would be increased "out of an abundance of caution."
The House decided to not hold any votes on legislation Wednesday, and many hearings were delayed. The House Natural Resources Federal Lands Subcommittee also canceled a scheduled meeting to debate gun legislation.
President Donald Trump also canceled an afternoon event at the Department of Labor.
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