US Congressman Steve Scalise shot at baseball practice in Virginia | News | DW | 14.06.2017
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US Congressman Steve Scalise shot at baseball practice in Virginia

A senior US House member and other victims were rushed to hospital after a gunman opened fire on lawmakers at a baseball field. Congressman Steve Scalise, among several hit during the attack, is in critical condition.

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US Congressman in critical condition after shooting

Police in Alexandria, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, D.C., said there was a shooting involving multiple congressmen at a baseball practice on Wednesday.

Authorities said the attacker died of his injuries following the shooting. Police also said it was too soon to comment on a possible motive. The FBI has taken over the investigation from local police.

Steve Scalise (picture alliance/AP Photo/A.Brandon)

Republican Congressman Steve Scalise was wounded in the hip during the shooting

Steve Scalise, a senior Republican Representative from Louisiana, was wounded in the shooting.

Republican Mo Brooks from Alabama, who was at the practice, told the US news broadcaster CNN that the Louisiana congressman sustained "a hip wound."

Scalise was taken to MedStar Washington Hospital Center where he underwent surgery. A tweet from the hospital Wednesday afternoon local time said Scalise was in critical condition.

The hospital later said Scalise had suffered fractured bones, internal organ injuries and severe bleeding after being shot in the left hip.

US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump made a surprise visit later on Wednesday to the MedStar Washington Hospital Center where Scalise is recovering, with Trump tweeting that Scalise was in "very tough shape."

 

Earlier, Trump released a statement saying he was "deeply saddened" by news of the shooting.

Four others were shot at the ballpark. A lobbyist for Arkansas-based Tyson Foods, Matt Mika, was hit in the chest, according to witness Senator Jeff Flake. Mika was previously a staffer for two former Republican representatives.

Tyson Foods, one of the world's largest providers of chicken, beef and pork, said Mika was taken to a local hospital and was waiting for word on his condition.

Zack Barth, a staffer for Texas Representative Roger Williams, was also shot. According to witnesses, two Capitol Hill police officers were also wounded.

Police have yet to formally name the suspect, but US media and The Associated Press news agency cited unnamed police sources as saying it was 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson, who reportedly volunteered for left-wing Democrat Bernie Sanders early in the US election campaign.

Sanders was made aware of an apparent link between the suspected shooter and his presidential campaign. Sanders said the suspect was an "apparent volunteer" during Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign, and said he "condemn[s] this action in the strongest possible terms."

Congressman a 'sitting duck' for shooter

Brooks said he and other Republican lawmakers were practicing for a charity baseball game at the field in Alexandria which is located around 7 miles (11 kilometers) from the capital, Washington D.C.

Michigan Representative Mike Bishop said Scalise was standing on second base - located relatively in the middle of the field - when the gunman opened fire.

"I was looking right at him," Bishop told Detroit radio station WWJ. "He was a sitting duck."

Around 25 Republican senators and congressmen were at the practice, according to Arizona Senator Jeff Flake who told reporters that around 50 shots rang out in the exchange of fire between Capitol Hill police and the gunman.

Scalise, 51, is the House of Representatives Majority Whip and the third-ranking Republican in the lower chamber of the US Congress.

kbd, rs, jbh/cmk (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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