ALEXANDRIA, Virginia — President Donald Trump said Wednesday, June 14th he and the vice president are “deeply saddened” by news of a shooting “tragedy” at a congressional baseball game.
The president said in a statement Wednesday that “the vice president and I are aware of the shooting incident in Virginia and are monitoring developments closely.”
“We are deeply saddened by this tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the members of Congress, their staffs, Capitol Police, first responders, and all others affected.”
Rep. Steve Scalise, a congressional staffer, a lobbyist and a member of the Capitol police force were shot Wednesday in Alexandria, Virginia, during Republicans’ early-morning practice ahead of a charity baseball game.
Federal law enforcement officials identified the alleged shooter as James Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Illinois, who died following a shootout with authorities.
At least six people including Scalise, the third ranking member of House Republican leadership as the majority whip, were hospitalized.
Scalise was in critical condition after surgery, according to So Young Pak, spokeswoman for MedStar Washington Hospital Center. It is not clear if he will have a second surgery, a Scalise aide told CNN.
A congressional staffer, Zach Barth, was also shot in the leg and has since been released from the hospital. Matt Mika, a lobbyist for Tyson Foods and former congressional staffer, was also identified as one of those shot. He was out of surgery and in critical condition as of Wednesday afternoon, according to a statement from his family.
House Speaker Paul Ryan identified two members of the Capitol Police who were injured as Crystal Griner and David Bailey. In a statement, Capitol Police said Griner was in “good condition in the hospital having been shot in the ankle,” and Bailey “was treated and released having sustained a minor injury during the incident.”
Rep. Roger Williams, a Texas Republican whom Barth works for, was also hospitalized and released with an injury to his leg.
Lawmakers who were there described a chaotic scene, with many members of the congressional GOP baseball team huddled in a dugout while Capitol police who were part of Scalise’s security detail and local Alexandria police engaged in a shootout with Hodgkinson. Congressional and law enforcement sources described it as a “deliberate attack.”
Traces are still being done on the two firearms recovered at the scene — an SKS rifle 7.62 (which is a Chinese-made AK variant) and a 9 mm pistol, a law enforcement source tells CNN.
Later, House Republican and Democratic leaders called for unity, while President Donald Trump said in an address from the White House that the prayers of the nation and world are with Scalise.
“Congressman Scalise is a friend, and a very good friend,” Trump said. “He’s a patriot. And he’s a fighter. He will recover from this assault — and Steve, I want you to know that you have the prayers not only of the entire city behind you, but of an entire nation, and frankly the entire world. America is praying for you and America is praying for all of the victims of this terrible shooting.”
Ryan condemned the shooting and praised the Capitol Police on the House floor later Wednesday.
“We are united. We are united in our shock. We are united in our anguish. An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us,” Ryan said, drawing a bipartisan standing ovation.
Members of Congress were practicing for a charity baseball game that was scheduled for Thursday night at Nationals Park. Rep. Martha McSally, R-Arizona, said the game will still go on as scheduled. The annual game has been played since 1909, and McSally said lawmakers applauded the announcement at an all-members meeting.