U.S. Representative and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) and several of his aides were shot while at baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia this morning. The practice was in anticipation of tomorrow’s annual Congressional Baseball Game.
Details are still sketchy, but witnesses have told reporters that a gunman opened fire on Scalise and others at around 7:15AM. The shooting lasted for approximately ten minutes. Five people were wounded. Scalise is in stable condition. One of the wounded was said to have been hit in the chest. There are few details about the gunman other than that he is a white, middle aged man who had a rifle. Capitol Police were on the scene as a security detail and reportedly returned fire, hitting the gunman, who is now in custody. Go to NBC News for continued updates on the details of all of this.
UPDATE: Federal law enforcement officials identified the suspected shooter to NBC News as James T. Hodgkinson, a man in his 60s from Belleville, Illinois. Here is a profile on him from the Beleville, Illinois newspaper.
UPDATE: President Trump just announced that Hodgkinson has died from wounds inflicted by police returning fire.
The Congressional Baseball Game, played between Democrats and Republicans, dates back to 1909. There have been 79 games in the series, with the Democrats winning 39 times, the Republicans winning 39 times and the teams tying once. These days it’s a charitable event, with ticket sales and other proceeds supporting the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington, The Washington Nationals Dream Foundation and the Washington Literacy Center. This year’s game is scheduled for tomorrow at Nationals Park. There is no word if it will still be played or if it will be postponed.
The Congressional Baseball Game usually features some amusing and often comically bad baseball and the folks who play in it are, without question, some unpopular folks responsible for a lot of acrimony these days. But the existence of the game itself is a good thing for a good cause. It stands as one of the few remaining moments of bipartisanship that can be found in Washington these days. One of the few bits of grace in an otherwise ugly time. It’s a shame that it has been marred by violence.
Our thoughts go out to Representative Scalise and the other victims of this shooting. Here’s hoping everyone comes out OK.