Donald Trump visits with Virginia shooting victim Congressman Steve Scalise
A statement from the MedStar Washington Hospital Center says that Scalise has undergone surgery and multiple blood transfusions after receiving a gunshot to the hip during a GOP baseball practice. Scalise suffered from fractured bones, internal organ injuries and severe bleeding.
“The bullet travelled across his pelvis, fracturing bones, injuring internal organs, and causing severe bleeding. He was transported in shock to MedStar Washington Hospital Center, a Level I Trauma Center. He underwent immediate surgery, and an additional procedure to stop bleeding. He has received multiple units of blood transfusion. His condition is critical, and he will require additional operations,” said the statement.
James T. Hodgkinson has been identified by the FBI as the shooter in the Wednesday morning event.
WATCH: Virginia shooting suspect James T. Hodgkinson posted anti-Trump sentiments on social media
Hodgkinson opened fire during a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Va., leaving five people injured and transported to local hospitals.
A statement released by the FBI confirmed the identity of the shooter and stated that two congressmen, a congressional staffer, a lobbyist, a United States Capitol Police officer and the suspect were injured during the shooting. Hodgkinson eventually died from his injuries.
The officer is reported to be in stable condition. The statement did not mention Scalise by name.
In a press conference, FBI special agent Timothy Slater said that Hodgkinson’s van, a white cargo van, was located shortly after the shooting took place. It’s estimated, according to Slater, that Hodgkinson had been living out of his vehicle near the vicinity of East Monroe Street. He reportedly travelled to Virginia from his residence in Illinois, and had been in Alexandria since March of this year.
During the press conference, Alexandria Police Chief Michael Brown also referred to the shooting as a “combat situation.” Currently, Slater and Brown say the FBI and the Alexandria Police Department will attempt to learn what they can from the “electrical” devices he owned.
Currently, the ATF is running a trace on two weapons; a rifle and a handgun. An investigation into Hodgkinson’s “associates, whereabouts, social media impressions, and potential motivations” is ongoing.
Citing government officials, both the Associated Press and the Washington Post identified Hodgkinson of Illinois as the alleged shooter earlier in the day.
At a Wednesday morning news conference, U.S. President Donald Trump announced the “assailant has now died from his injuries.”
Trump did not name the suspect at the time.
A witness described on social media hearing what sounded like 80 gunshots being fired at the baseball diamond around 7:30 a.m.
“We had three members of Congress took shelter in our apartment and they said (the shooting) was down on the field,” Benjamin Childers explained during a live stream shortly after the shooting, adding the three were not injured.
Congressman Steve Pearce said on social media he was at the practice and confirmed Scalise had been injured. The Associated Press reports that while Scalise is out of surgery, the congressman remains in critical condition.
“I was present at this morning’s GOP baseball practice, but am alright. Prayers for Congressman Scalise & aides that were involved,” Pearce tweeted.
Hodgkinson, 66, lived in Belleville, Ill., and owned a home inspection business, according to reports. His social media presence indicated he was strongly opposed to Republicans, including Trump.
Hodgkinson was a member of many anti-Republican groups on Facebook including “The Road to Hell Is Paved With Republicans,” “Terminate The Republican Party,” and “Donald Trump is not my President,” his profile showed before it was taken down.
“Trump is a Traitor. Trump Has Destroyed Our Democracy. It’s Time to Destroy Trump & Co.,” Hodgkinson wrote in a March 22 post. His profile picture was a U.S. flag with the slogan, “Democratic Socialism explained in 3 words: ‘We the People.'”
On Wednesday afternoon, Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders said Hodgkinson had apparently volunteered on his presidential campaign.
“I am sickened by this despicable act,” Sanders said in a statement.
Alexandria Police Chief Brown said officers arrived within three minutes of the call shortly after 7 a.m. where officers, including Capitol Hill officers, exchanged gunfire with the shooter. The police chief didn’t provide further details.
“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,” the statement said. “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 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,” reads the statement.
WATCH: Suspected congressman shooter had been photographed as a protester
Trump issued a statement saying he and the vice president 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,” Trump said in a statement.
At least two Capitol Police officers were injured in the shooting.
Shortly after the shooting, Rep. Mo Brook described Scalise has having a “hip wound” and the congressman “crawled into the outfield, leaving a trail of blood.”
Describing the shooting, Sen. Jeff Flake said the shooter was using a “large gauged rifle” to carry out the shooting.
“There were people in the field, one staffer was shot out in the field and he ran with a wound to the dugout,” Flake told reporters. “A lot of us dove into the dugout and tried to get as many as we could but at the point there was firing behind us.”
WATCH: Neighbours describe chaotic scene in moments following Virginia shooting
The senator noted that at first they weren’t sure who opened fire from behind the group as they tried to take cover.
“I started yelling back ‘Are you friendly?’ making sure it was our guy. We didn’t know if there were other shooters that had us surrounded…we didn’t know to run or not,” Flake said.
Once the group in the dugout realized it was Capitol Police firing on the suspect, Flake said he saw the shooter had moved behind a fence still engaging in gunfire which lasted about 10 minutes in total.
Once the gunman was down, Flake said he ran to Scalise and used his phone to call the Whip’s wife.
“I just didn’t want her to wake up and learn the news,” Flake said.
A short time after Trump released his statement, the president took to twitter to say Scalise “was badly injured but will fully recover.”
“Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, a true friend and patriot, was badly injured but will fully recover. Our thoughts and prayers are with him,” Trump tweeted.
Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords offered her sympathy following the Virginia shooting.
“My heart is with my former colleagues, their families & staff, and the US Capitol Police- public servants and heroes today and every day,” Giffords tweeted.
In 2011, Giffords was shot in the head during an event outside of a grocery store in Tucson, Arizona. Six people were killed in the incident and 13 others were injured when Jared Loughner opened fire on a crowd.
Alexandria resident Joseph Miscavige tweeted photos from inside the YMCA, next to a baseball diamond showing several bullet holes in windows.
“Active shooter situation during this mornings trip to the Y. Terrifying. Am ok. Sheltered in place & under lock down,” Miscavige tweeted.
— With files from Reuters and Jessica Vomiero
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