ALEXANDRIA, VA (WUSA9) - House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) is in critical condition after he and four others were injured during a shooting at a baseball field in Alexandria Wednesday morning. Lawmakers reported hearing between 50 and 100 shots fired. After a gunfight with police, the shooter was fatally injured.
6:30 a.m.: The Republican baseball team began practicing for Thursday’s Congressional Baseball Game for Charity. They were hitting and fielding balls at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in the 400 block of Monroe Street, near the YMCA.
7:09 a.m.: Alexandria Police received a report of a shooting at the ballfield. Some Capitol Police officers, assigned to protect Scalise, were on the scene at the time of the shooting.
7:12 a.m.: Alexandria Police exchanged gunfire with the suspect.
8:23 a.m.: Alexandria Police confirmed the suspect was in custody.
11:36 a.m.: President Trump confirmed the suspect had died.
Rep. Steve Scalise was standing on second base fielding balls when he was shot in the hip.
He has undergone several surgeries and will require more, MedStar Washington hospital reported Thursday night. His health has improved, but he remains in critical condition. The hospital said Scalise will remain in their care 'for some time.'
Scalise was able to speak with his wife on the phone before surgery. Mrs. Scalise and their two young children are at the hospital after flying in from New Orleans.
President Trump and the first lady Melania Trump made a surprise visit to Rep. Scalise at the hospital. They brought two bouquets of white flowers.
Tyson Food Director of Government Relations Matt Mika suffered several gunshot wounds and remains in the intensive care unit in serious condition, which is an improvement from critical condition as he was intially listed. Mika underwent surgery and has the most severe injuries.
In a statement, Mika’s family said they expect him to remain in the hospital for several days. “We continue to be in disbelief that he would be part of this heinous attack,” the family wrote.
Mika is a former aide to Michigan Republican congressman Tim Walberg.
Mika's family described him as "a very thoughtful, fun-loving person who is competitive and loyal; all things which contributed to his continued commitment to the Congressional Baseball Game."
Special agents with Capitol Police, David Bailey and Crystal Griner, were also among those injured. Griner was shot in the ankle and is in good condition in the hospital. She is expected to make a full recovery. Bailey was treated for a minor injury and has been released from the hospital.
“I want to commend Special Agents Griner, Bailey, and Henry Cabrera for their heroic and appropriate response,” said U.S. Capitol Police Chief Matthew Verderosa in a statement. “Today we saw how our officers’ extensive training and quick response saved lives.”
Congressional staffer Zach Barth also was injured in the attack. No further details have been released about his injuries.
Rep. Roger Williams (R-Tex.) wasn't shot, but hurt his ankle during the attack. He's in a boot and on crutches.
The suspect, identified as James T. Hodgkinson, 66, from Illinois, used an M4 assault carbine during the attack, CBS News confirmed. The FBI also recovered a 9 mm handgun from the scene.
The bureau said Hodgkinson bought both of the weapons from federal firearm licensees. At this time, there is no evidence he bought them unlawfully, the FBI reported Thursday.
The FBI also is examining a cell phone, computer, and camera taken from his van, which was parked in the YMCA parking lot across from the shooting scene.
Hodgkinson was a member at that YMCA, though he canceled his membership the day before the shooting, telling staff that he was moving.
In cell phone video from the scene, gunshots could be heard for several minutes.
Court records from St. Clair County, Illinois, reveal a troubled man with a long history of violence. More than 30 criminal and civil cases dating back to 1989 involve the Alexandria shooter.
In recent months, Hodgkinson had reportedly been living in Alexandria, Virginia. Former Mayor Bill Euille told WUSA9 he’d recently met the suspect at the local YMCA. He described Hodgkinson as “calm” and “quiet” and said he wasn’t on his radar for something like this.
“He never expressed himself, at least to me politically,” the former mayor said. “No signs of depression.”
Hodgkinson’s Facebook page paints a portrait of a man with strong political views. He was a member of fiercely anti-Republican Facebook groups. And he served as a presidential campaign volunteer for Bernie Sanders, who took to the Senate floor to condemn his act of violence.
The suspect was also a prolific letter writer to his hometown newspaper, the Belleville News-Democrat. He called President Donald Trump a traitor, and blasted the Republican party as being racist and sexist.
The FBI has now taken over the investigation. Agents are investigating Hodgkinson's potential motivations, social media use, people who knew him, and where he's been recently.
Authorities do not yet know his motive.
The Congressional baseball game
Lawmakers were practicing for Thursday’s Congressional Baseball Game for Charity. It’s an annual even that started back in 1909 and offers a rare glimpse of unity between lawmakers.
The game went on as planned at Nats Park with a record crowd of 25,000 people. The game also raised more than $1 million for D.C. charities, double what it did last year.
Before the game started, both teams kneeled down to pray on the field. Then, wounded Capitol Police Special Agent David Bailey threw out the first pitch. It was an emotional scene as he made it to the mound on crutches and then balanced on one leg to throw the ball.
Democrats ended up winning the game, but they handed over the trophy as quickly as they received it and asked for it to be placed in Rep. Scalise’s office.
"We're brothers and sisters, and the trophy doesn't mean anything, our friendship does," said Rep. Joe Donnelly, of Indiana.
You can find out more information on the Congressional Baseball Game website.
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