Hospital says Rep. Scalise needs more operations

WASHINGTON — The hospital where Rep. Steve Scalise is recovering after being shot says the congressman remains in critical condition and will require several more operations.

MedStar Washington Hospital Center is also providing a more detailed description of Scalise's wounds. The hospital says he was shot in the left hip, after which "the bullet traveled across his pelvis, fracturing bones, injuring internal organs and causing severe bleeding."

Scalise, House GOP Whip of Louisiana, was among several people wounded when a rifle-wielding attacker fired on lawmakers at a Republican congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia, outside Washington. The assailant, prepared with "a lot of ammo," fought a gun battle with police before he, too, was shot and died.

President Donald Trump made a surprise visit to MedStar Washington Hospital Center where Scalise is being treated.

The president and first lady Melania Trump brought two bouquets of white flowers to the hospital.

Scalise dragged himself off the infield leaving a trail of blood as colleagues rushed to his assistance.

Scalise, 51, the No. 3 House Republican leader first elected to the House in 2008, underwent surgery at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

(Click PLAY to watch the FBI's Wednesday night update.)

MedStar Washington Hospital Center provided the following update on the condition of Scalise:

"Congressman Steve Scalise sustained a single rifle shot to the left hip. The bullet traveled 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. We will provide periodic updates."

(Graphic video warning: Gunman shoots at lawmakers during congressional baseball practice)

Capitol Police officers who were in Scalise's security detail wounded the shooter, identified as 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois, who was taken into custody. In all, five people were taken to area hospitals, including the suspect, Alexandria police said.

Hodgkinson later died of his injuries, President Donald Trump told the nation from the White House.

(James T. Hodgkinson)

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"Everyone on that field is a public servant," Trump said. "Their sacrifice makes democracy possible."

House Speaker Paul Ryan spoke on the House floor after the shooting, calling a "dreadful attack" on friends and colleagues.

"An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us," Ryan said.

He named off the five victims in the shooting: Scalise, Zachary Barth, Matt Mika, Special Agent David Bailey and Special Agent Crystal Griner.

Bailey is a 2007 graduate of North Carolina Central University. He was assigned to the security detail to protect Scalise.

Texas Rep. Roger Williams, who coaches the GOP team, said Barth is one of his aides. He said Barth "is doing well and is expected to make a full recovery."

Rep. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina said he had just left the practice and encountered the gunman in the parking lot before the shooting.

"I did have an interaction with someone in the parking lot who asked me if the team practicing was a Democrat or Republican team. I told him they were Republicans. He said, 'OK, thanks,' and turned around. I got in my car and left," Duncan.

The gunman had a rifle and "a lot of ammo," said Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, who was at the practice.

The shocking event left the Capitol horrified and stunned. The House canceled proceedings for the day.

The shooting occurred at a popular park and baseball complex in Alexandria, Virginia, where Republican lawmakers and others were gathered for a morning practice about 7 a.m.

They were in good spirits despite the heat and humidity as they prepared for the congressional baseball match that pits Republicans against Democrats. The popular annual face-off, which raises money for charity, was scheduled for Thursday evening at Nationals Park across the Potomac River in Washington.

The team was taking batting practice when gunshots rang out and chaos erupted.

Scalise was fielding balls on second base when he was shot, according to lawmakers present, then dragged himself into the outfield to get away from the gunman.

Rep. Mo Brooks, an Alabama Republican, said his colleague "crawled into the outfield, leaving a trail of blood."

"We started giving him the liquids, I put pressure on his wound in his hip," Brooks said.

Texas Rep. Joe Barton, still in his baseball uniform, told reporters a shooter came out to the practice and opened fire, shooting at Rep. Trent Kelly, R-Miss., who plays third base.

"He shot at Steve Scalise, our second baseman. He hit Steve Scalise," Barton said, "Scalise's security detail and the Capitol Hill police immediately returned fire, and Alexandria Police also immediately came and began to return fire. They shot the shooter. The security detail saved a lot of lives because they attacked the shooter."

Barton said the shooting lasted 5-10 minutes, and there were dozens if not hundreds of shots fired.

"It was scary," Barton said.

(Steve Scalise)

Lawmakers took cover in the dugout. Barton said his son, Jack, got under an SUV.

FBI special agent in charge Tim Slater said it was "too early to say" whether it was an act of terrorism, or whether Scalise was targeted.

After the gunfire stopped, Sen. Flake, of Arizona, said he ran onto the field and also tried to come to Scalise's aide. After medical personnel arrived, he said he retrieved Scalise's phone and made the first call to Scalise's wife to notify her of the shooting. He said he did so to ensure that Mrs. Scalise would not find out about the shooting through the media.

Flake estimated that more than 50 shots were fired.

Scalise, a popular and gregarious lawmaker, is known for his love of baseball and handed out commemorative baseball bats to fellow lawmakers when he secured the No. 3 job of House whip several years ago.

Katie Filous was walking her two dogs near the field when she heard "a lot of shots." She said the shooting "went on for quite a while."

Filous said she saw the shooter hit a uniformed law enforcement officer, who she said was later evacuated by helicopter. She said the officer had gotten out of a parked car, drawn a handgun and shouted something to the gunman, who then fired.

"He was just very calm. He was just walking and shooting," she said of the man, whom she described as white and wearing a T-shirt and shorts. She said he was using a long gun and exchanging fire with law enforcement officers, one of whom yelled for her to get down.

Lawmakers react to news of their colleagues

The news of the shooting rattled some of the country's most powerful people.

"I'm shaken up. My colleagues were targeted today by someone who wants to kill them," Duncan said.

Rep. Robert Pittenger, R- NC 9th District, told Channel 9 he wasn't at the field. He was at a gym with Speaker Ryan who he said bolted out when his security detail told him what happened.

"Deeply grateful for the Capitol police, Alexandria police and all who came quickly to make sure that those were not harmed," Pittenger said.

Pittenger is a close friends with Scalise. The two serve on the whip team together.

"It's very sad. Steve is a wonderful person and a great friend and of course I work with him on the whip team," Pittenger said.

Rep. Richard Hudson, R- NC 8th District, released this statement on the shooting: 

“This morning’s events were shocking. First and foremost, I want to acknowledge the heroic actions of Special Agents Crystal Griner and David Bailey who charged the shooter and prevented today's tragedy from being much worse. They are incredible heroes. Secondly, Renee and I send thoughts and prayers to Rep. Steve Scalise and the other two shooting victims. We pray for their speedy recovery.

Finally, I call on all Americans to pause in the course of our busy lives to reflect on what happened today. But more importantly, I think we all need to reflect on what has happened to political discourse in this country. The expressed hatred, the vitriol – often expressed behind the safety of a keyboard – and the inability to listen to and respect someone with a different point of view has become the new normal. It has to stop. We have to remember we are Americans first. We are husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, sons and daughters. We all love our country – even when we disagree about what specific policies and actions are in the best interest of our country.

We should all strive to be more careful about the words we use. I will recommit myself to being accessible to my constituents. And I will continue to work to build relationships with my Democrat colleagues in Congress as I began in my first term when I had several pieces of legislation signed by President Obama and continue today with the legislation Rep. Bobby Rush and I got passed out of the House this week.

I welcome your feedback and ask that you continue to keep today's victims in your thoughts and prayers.”

South Carolina Rep. Jeff Duncan said in a statement that he was at the practice and "saw the shooter."

"Please pray for my colleagues," Duncan said.

North Carolina Rep. Mark Walker was at the practice, and said the Capitol police saved many lives. He said he's shaken, but OK.

In a brief interview in a Senate hallway, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, "I think everybody handled it well and things seem to be under control."

Shortly after the shooting, Bernie Sanders, the former candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, said on the Senate floor that the shooter apparently was a volunteer for his campaign last year. Sanders said he denounced the violence "in the strongest possible terms."

A few miles away from Washington D.C, the Democrats' congressional baseball team was practicing. Rep. Mike Doyle, D- Pennsylvania, is the coach and said while he was standing on the field he received a text from a staffer asking if he was OK.

Doyle quickly rushed all of his lawmaker players to the dugout to take cover. They also gathered in a circle and prayed for their Republican colleagues.

Other lawmakers were stunned in the aftermath of the event, which raised questions about the security of members of Congress. While the top lawmakers, including Scalise, have security details, others do not and regularly appear in public without protection. The last time a lawmaker was shot was when Democratic Rep. Gabby Giffords of Arizona was hit in the head and grievously injured while meeting with constituents at a supermarket parking lot in 2011.

Following the Giffords shooting, lawmakers have held fewer open town halls and have been advised to increase security at such events.

The office of Scalise released the following statement on his condition following the shooting:

“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 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. This office will release additional information regarding the Whip’s condition as appropriate.”

Below is a statement from President 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."


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