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If Not for the Capitol Police, It Would've Been a "Massacre," Update On Rep. Steve Scalise, Others Shot during Congressional Baseball Practice

Bob Eschliman : Jun 14, 2017 : Charisma News

Scalise is expected to survive the assassination attempt, the shooter has died.

[Charisma News] President Donald Trump addressed the nation shortly after 11:30 a.m. EDT from the White House regarding an apparent attempt to assassinate Republican members of Congress earlier in the day. (Photo: Reuters/via Charisma News)

The FBI Agent in Charge for the District of Columbia Tim Slater, which has taken over the lead role in the investigation, suggested it was "too early to tell" if the shooting was indeed an assassination attempt. Members of Congress who witnessed the shooting, however, say Republicans were specifically being targeted, regardless of how the bureau wants to designate it.

Urgent prayers are needed for everyone involved.

The shooting took place in Alexandria, Virginia, across the Potomac River from our nation's capital, shortly after 7 a.m., Wednesday, as Republican members of Congress were taking part in a practice for the popular congressional charity baseball game when the gunman, who was also shot in a shootout with security personnel, opened fire. Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-SC, said he was leaving the practice early when a man he believes was the shooter asked whether or not the members of Congress were Republicans or Democrats.

Duncan had left by the time "dozens of shots" were fired. Rep. Mo Brooks, R-AL, said 50-100 shots were fired and five people were hit.

"After the first dozen shots or so there was a lot of hollering," Brooks said. "He was making his way to the dugout."

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-LA, was shot in the hip, while an aide to Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas, was reportedly shot in the chest. Brooks said there was significant blood loss, while Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio—who is a physician—said he treated his colleague, noting he was "conscious and OK." (Image: Rep. Scalise on left, shooter on right/via Fox News)

Scalise was airlifted to a nearby hospital, and has since been taken into emergency surgery. At approximately 9:30 a.m., his office released the following statement:

This morning, at a practice for the Congressional Baseball Game, Whip Scalise was shot in the hip. He was transported to MedStar Washington Hospital Center, where he is currently undergoing surgery. He is in stable condition.

Prior to entering surgery, the whip was in good spirits and spoke to his wife by phone. He is grateful for the brave actions of the U.S. Capitol Police, first responders and colleagues.

"We ask that you keep the whip and others harmed in this incident in your thoughts and prayers."

No other conditions have been reported. Two Capitol Police officers who were part of Scalise's security detail were also shot. Several other Republican members of Congress were at the practice and scattered, taking shelter in nearby homes, once the first shots rang out.

"I think we're lucky that Scalise was there because this was his security detail, without them it would have been a massacre," Sen. Rand Paul, R-KY, told FOX News.

"Nobody would have survived without Capitol Hill Police," he also told CNN. "They saved everybody's life."

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-AR., noted that several of his colleagues were heroes, too. As soon as the gunfire started, they quickly grabbed the 10-year-old son of Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, who had been helping out with the practice, and shielded him in a dugout.

"Joe Barton's boy was here, 10-year-old, just shagging balls, and we got him into the dugout and stuffed him under the bench," he said.

House Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker, R-NC, said he was "shaken but OK." He said the gunman was clearly targeting Republicans and wanted to kill as many as he could.

"Please pray for Rep. Steve Scalise and others shot at our baseball practice this morning for our charity game tomorrow evening," he tweeted. "The Capitol Police saved many lives this morning from a shooter who had obviously planned to kill many Republican members."

Democrats, who were practicing at another field a few miles away, held a moment of prayer for those affected once they heard the news.

The FBI has not yet released the name of the shooter, but media reports suggest he is James T. Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, IL, who was a Bernie Sanders supporter in 2016 and, based on his social media footprint, "hated the president." The president said he died as a result of his wounds during the shootout with Scalise's Capitol Police security detail. (Photo: Field where the shooting occurred/via Fox News)

Sanders issued a statement acknowledging Hodgkinson actually worked on his failed presidential campaign last year. He said he was sickened by the events that unfolded in Alexandria. In a tweet, he said "the violence must end."

"I have just been informed that the alleged shooter at the Republican baseball practice is someone who apparently volunteered on my presidential campaign," he said. "I am sickened by this despicable act. 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."

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer alerted the media shortly after 8 a.m. that both the president and vice president were aware of the developing situation in Virginia, stating the White House's thoughts and prayers were with all affected. Shortly after 8:30 a.m., the White House released the following statement from President Donald Trump:

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.

Vice President Mike Pence has cancelled a scheduled appearance for later in the day with the National Association of Homebuilders. He was instead heading directly to the White House to stay briefed on the situation in Alexandria. The president's visit to the Department of Labor has been cancelled, and all House of Representatives activities were postponed until shortly after 11:15 a.m.

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