- The Virginia Shooting: House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, Four Others Shot at Congressional Baseball Practice
- A lone gunman opened fire on members of the Republican congressional baseball team at a practice field in this Washington suburb on Wednesday, using a rifle to shower the field with bullets that struck four people, including Steve Scalise, the majority whip of the House of Representatives.
His injuries are extensive, and he was in critical condition Wednesday night, MedStar Washington Hospital Center said in a statement. As the bullet traveled across his body, it broke bones, tore up internal organs and caused major internal bleeding.
Doctors operated immediately, but additional surgery is required, the hospital said.
Others who were wounded included Zachary Barth, a member of Representative Roger Williams’s staff, who was struck in the leg by a bullet, and Matt Mika, a former congressional staff member and the director of government relations for the Washington office of Tyson Foods, who was shot twice in the chest.
He was in serious condition. Mr. Barth was treated at a hospital and later released.
Two of those who suffered injuries were Capitol Police officers assigned to protect Mr. Scalise, the third-ranking member of the House Republican leadership team. Officials identified the two officers as Crystal Griner and David Bailey, both 32. Officials said Ms. Griner was shot in the ankle, while Mr. Bailey suffered other minor injuries and was treated and released.
Law enforcement authorities identified the suspect as James T. Hodgkinson, 66, from Belleville, Ill., a suburb of St. Louis.
The F.B.I. said it would take the lead in the investigation, treating it as an assault on a federal officer.
Tim Slater, special agent in charge of the bureau’s Washington field office, said that investigators were “exploring all angles” but that he could not comment on a motive. Asked whether the shooting was an assassination attempt, he said it was “too early in the investigation to say one way or another.”
The F.B.I. said Mr. Hodgkinson had a handgun and a rifle, which he bought in March, according to a law enforcement official. It appeared that Mr. Hodgkinson arrived in the area in March and had been living out of a white van near the field.
Mr. Hodgkinson also appeared to have been a fervent fan of Senator Bernie Sanders, according to a Facebook page with references to the Vermont senator.
In a statement Wednesday morning, Mr. Sanders said he had been told the suspect had volunteered for his presidential campaign. He offered his “hopes and prayers” for the shooting victims.
“I am sickened by this despicable act,” Mr. Sanders said. “Let me be as clear as I can be. Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society, and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms. Real change can only come about through nonviolent action.”
Out of caution, Capitol Police officials said they quickly put in place a “robust police presence throughout the Capitol complex,” and the Secret Service added security around the White House.
At a second news conference on Wednesday, Mr. Slater, the F.B.I. official, said the gunman was shot multiple times in the torso. It is not clear whether Mr. Hodgkinson was shot by Capitol Police officers or those from the Alexandria Police Department.
- source : New York Times