Trump Says GOP Lawmaker ‘In Some Trouble’ After Gunshot WoundBy and
House majority whip will need more surgery, hospital says
Assailant died of injuries sustained in shootout with police
Steve Scalise, the Louisiana House Republican shot Wednesday on a Virginia baseball field outside Washington, remains in critical condition at a hospital in the District of Columbia, though he’s improving.
Scalise had a second surgery to address his internal injuries and a broken bone in his leg after he was shot in the hip, "but has improved in the last 24 hours," the MedStar Washington Hospital Center said in a statement released late Thursday.
Scalise "will require additional operations, and will be in the hospital for some time," the medical center said.
President Donald Trump had said earlier Thursday that Scalise, the House majority whip, was "in some trouble" after being shot, and took a moment to observe a silver lining.
"Steve in his own way might have brought some unity to our long-divided country," the president said at a White House event on workforce initiatives. "He’s a great fighter and he’s going to be OK, we hope."
The bullet that struck Scalise tore through his pelvis, fracturing bones, injuring internal organs and causing severe bleeding, the hospital said. The 51-year-old underwent emergency surgery and received multiple units of blood, the hospital said.
Trump and his wife Melania visited the hospital Wednesday night. They spoke with Scalise’s wife and sat at the lawmaker’s bedside. Press secretary Sean Spicer described it as a somber scene.
Vice President Mike Pence visited the hospital Thursday morning. Afterward, he wrote on Twitter that he and his wife Karen "thanked docs & staff," and he asked people to keep Scalise and "all involved & their loved ones in your prayers."
A congressional staff member, two Capitol Police officers and a lobbyist were also wounded in the early morning attack at the ballpark in Alexandria, Virginia. The gunman was identified as 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois. He died later from injuries sustained in a shootout with police.
The House passed a resolution by voice vote on Thursday expressing "gratitude for the heroic actions" of police officers at the scene of the shooting and "hope for a speedy and full recovery for the injured."
Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama, who witnessed the shooting, told Bloomberg TV that he heard a “loud explosion” and saw a middle-aged man with a rifle as he looked down the third-base line. He and other lawmakers sought cover on the ground behind the batting cage and later in the dugout as more shots were fired. Brooks said he heard Scalise scream.
“While this was going on, the gunfire is coming nonstop from the rifle,” said Brooks, who said Scalise left a “trail of blood.” Brooks said members of Scalise’s security detail fired back with pistols at the shooter.
“There could have easily been 25 deaths” if not for the police officers’ quick response, Representative Roger Williams of Texas told reporters later in the day, wearing a medical boot and using crutches because of an ankle injury he suffered in the melee.
The FBI and Alexandria Police Department said in a joint statement Thursday that federal authorities had examined the rifle and handgun recovered from the scene and determined that Hodgkinson had bought them from licensed sellers. Police are examining a cell phone, computer and a camera found in his van, according to the statement.
Timothy Slater, an FBI special agent in charge of the Washington field office, told reporters Wednesday that authorities are trying to determine Hodgkinson’s motive and why he was in the area. The gunman had apparently been in the Alexandria area since March and was living out of his van near the baseball field, Slater said. On social media, Hodgkinson had previously posted messages expressing disdain for Republicans.
The House Republican baseball team had been practicing for weeks in early mornings at the Alexandria site for Thursday’s annual congressional baseball game against Democratic lawmakers’ team. Leaders decided the game will go on as scheduled at Nationals Park in Washington, home of the city’s professional baseball team.
The congressional game is one of Washington’s greatest shows of bipartisanship and camaraderie, and preparation by both teams is serious. Much partisan pride is at stake in the charity game that dates to 1919. The GOP team had been particularly upbeat, having finally won the contest last year after a long losing streak.
Scalise has been an avid participant in the game since arriving in Congress in 2008. As majority whip, he is the chief vote counter in the Republican conference.
— With assistance by Terrence Dopp, Anna Edgerton, and Billy House