Gunman shoots congressman, police at Virginia baseball practice

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House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was shot Wednesday morning by a gunman who opened fire at the Republicans' Congressional Baseball practice.

The president and first lady Melania Trump spent about half an hour at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. In an earlier announcement from the White House, Trump also praised the "heroic actions" of the Capitol Police officers who stopped the shooter in his tracks.

The suspect fired repeatedly at the men playing on a baseball field in suburban Alexandria, Virginia, near Washington D.C. He was tended to by fellow lawmakers including Brad Wenstrup, an OH congressman who is a physician, before being transported to a hospital.

He was wounded in a gunfight with Capitol Hill police armed with pistols who were at the scene, lawmakers said.

The congressional staffer, who works for Rep. Roger Williams of Texas, was shot in the leg and has since been released from the hospital.

Police identified the gunman as 66-year-old James Hodgkinson, who reportedly had made frequent anti-Trump and anti-Republican posts on social media.

While police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation said it was too early to determine whether it was a deliberate political attack, the shooting intensified concerns about the sharp divide and bitter rhetoric in U.S. politics.

Newhouse was not at the Alexandria, Va., ballfield where a number of Republican Congress members were practicing for a traditional charity baseball game Thursday against their Democratic colleagues. The congressional baseball team had been practicing ahead of their annual charity game that has been held since 1909.

"We reported to police that there was a gentleman that confronted us when we were going to our vehicle and he wanted to know whether it was Republicans or Democrats that were out there".

In a statement, Capitol Police said Griner was in "good condition in the hospital, having been shot in the ankle".

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Ryan, the House speaker, is reviewing rules on how rank-and-file lawmakers can increase their personal security, according to several lawmakers.

Noah Nathan, a bystander present at the scene, recorded the terrifying Eugene Simpson Stadium Park shooting in Alexandria, Virginia, when he heard the gunshots.

He said he saw the gunman holding a semi-automatic rifle in the area behind third base, and that Scalise had been near second base. All we would have had would have been baseball bats versus a rifle. Mo Brooks said on CNN shortly after the incident.

"50 (shots) would be an understatement, I'm quite sure", Flake said when asked about the total amount of gunfire, including police returning fire.

"That was locked", said Rep. Michael K. Conaway, Texas Republican.

Scalise's position as whip means he has the hard job of trying to keep order in the fractious party ranks and rounding up votes for bills.

Scalise has been a strong opponent of gun control measures.

"There was absolutely no shelter". They turned the murderous assault by a left-wing fanatic into a raging gunbattle that kept the man off balance and outside the ballfield fence, giving lawmakers and staffers a chance to run for their lives.

Scalise was shot in the hip, and was taken to a nearby hospital where he remains in critical condition following surgery.

The shooting marks the first time a sitting member of Congress has been shot since Rep. Some of the most indelible images of Barack Obama's presidency followed an act of violence, including the tears in his eyes while mourning the 26 people, including children, killed in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012 and his rendition of "Amazing Grace" while delivering a eulogy after nine churchgoers were killed in Charlestown, South Carolina, three years later. Giffords was shot in the head by Jared Lee Loughner at a "Congress On Your Corner" event at a Tucson grocery store. But federal police officials continue to investigate the incident, which shook Washington and stirred calls for unity from Capitol Hill.

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