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GOP leadership shooting: What we know & what we don't know

Photo from scene of the shooting. (Photo: ABC7)

WHAT WE KNOW:

-Five people were injured on Wednesday, June 14 by what appears to be a "deliberate" attack on a Republican baseball team that was practicing in Alexandria, Virginia, for an upcoming charity game in Washington D.C.

A live feed from WJLA-TV in Washington is available below.

Video of the shooting can be seen here.

-Among those wounded include: Rep. Steve Scalise, the Majority Whip and the third highest-ranking member of the GOP. He suffered a bullet wound to the hip and is expected to survive. He was taken to a nearby hospital for surgery. Officials said he was in "critical condition" following his surgery.

Audio from the dramatic 911 calls can be heard here.

-Two Capitol police officers were also struck by gunfire during a firefight with the shooter. They were identified as special agents Krystal Griner and David Bailey. Both are being heralded as heroes.

-Rep. Roger Williams, of Texas, said his aide Zack Barth with among those who was shot. He too is expected to make a full recovery after being hit in the calf. A Congressman who is also a doctor tended to Barth's wound in the dugout as the shooting progressed.

-Arkansas-based Tyson Foods Inc. spokesman said employee Matt Mika was the fifth person hit.

-A government official says the suspect in the Virginia shooting that injured Rep. Steve Scalise and several others has been identified as an Illinois man named James. T. Hodgkinson. President Donald Trump said Hodgkinson died from injuries suffered during the firefight with police.

-Sen. Bernie Sanders confirmed Hodgkinson volunteered on his campaign for president.

-Witnesses said dozens of shots were fired. The shooter carried a rifle.

-Police were only stationed at the baseball field as a part of Scalise's security detail, which is assigned to him because of his status as Majority Whip.

-Rep. Ron DeSantis said he has "no doubt" he encountered Hodgkinson prior to the shooting. There was an exchange about who was playing baseball. DeSantis left practice four minutes before the first shots rang out.

-The charity baseball game will go on as scheduled.

App users can watch live a feed of coverage here.

WHAT WE DON'T KNOW:

-The shooter's motive.

-FBI officials said it's too early in the investigation to tell if the shooting was politically motivated.

AS THE STORY UNFOLDED:

Rep. Steve Scalise and two Capitol police officers were shot Wednesday at a baseball practice for a charity baseball game in Alexandria, Virginia.

A congressional aide said Scalise was in stable condition at George Washington University Hospital. Chief Michael Brown said five people in total were taken to nearby hospitals for treatment.

Click here for photos from the scene.

The extent of further injuries was not immediately available. Police officials did not answer questions at the scene.

Scalise's 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 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.”

A government official says the suspect in the Virginia shooting that injured Scalise and several others has been identified as an Illinois man named James. T. Hodgkinson.

The official was not authorized to discuss an investigation by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The FBI and local law enforcement officials say they haven't identified a motive.

This is a breaking new story and will be updated.

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Alabama), who witnessed the shooting, said at least 50 shots were fired from a semi-automatic rifle.

"All the people on the field scattered," he told CNN.

Brooks said at least five people were injured: the congressman, a staffer, two police officers and another person - possibly the shooter. The staffer, who works for Rep. Roger Williams, suffered a bullet wound to his calf.

"My adrenaline is raging and of course it's not never easy to take when people around you are getting shot," Brooks said.

Authorities believe the shooting was a deliberate attack.

"It sure as heck wasn't an accident," Brooks added.

The shooter attacked the Republican baseball team practicing for The Congressional Baseball Game for Charity, which is scheduled to take place at Washington Nationals Park Thursday.

Brooks said that Scalise, 51, was down on the ground with what Brooks described as "a hip wound."

"There was a long trail of blood," leading away from second base as Scalise dragged himself into the outfield away from the shooting, Brooks said.

Scalise is the No. 3 House Republican leader. The security detail present at the event was assigned to Scalise because of his leadership status.

"If not for them, we wouldn't have standed a chance," Brooks said. "It would've been a bunch of baseball bats versus a rifle."

House Speaker Paul Ryan's office said Scalise's wounds were not believed to be life-threatening and that a member of the security detail was also shot.

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

The shooter, who was identified as James. T. Hodgkinson, died from his injuries suffered during a shootout with police.

"The Vice President and I are aware of the shooting incident in Virginia and are monitoring developments closely," President Donald Trump said in an official White House statement. "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."

Police said the suspect is in custody and Alexandria Fire officials say that there are " various degrees of injury."

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) said the shooting lasted for about 10 minutes before members of the lawmakers' security detail said the shooter had been shot. The shooter's condition was not immediately available.

"I got Steve Scalise's phone and called his wife. I didn't want her to wake up and not know what was going on," Flake said.

Police officials said officers responded to the shooting in three minutes.

Flake said the team was working on batting practice. Scalise was standing on second base when the shooter opened fire.

Alexandria Police say that the shooting happened in the 400 block of East Monroe Avenue.

Police are advising people to stay away from the area.

Lawmakers cross the political divide were quick to express their concern on Twitter.

Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who herself was shot while giving a speech in public, said on Twitter, "My heart is with my former colleagues, their families and staff, and the US Capitol Police - public servants and heroes today and every day."


Katie Filous was walking her two dogs near the field when she heard "a lot of shots, probably more than 20." 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.

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

"Please pray for my colleagues," Duncan said.

Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) was at the game and he had not yet changed out of his practice clothes. His arm was scratched up from diving into the dugout when the shots were fired.

Davis reported seeing his colleague Scalise laying in the outfield while everyone else was running for cover.

“I thought he was dead,” Davis said.

In the aftermath of the incident, Davis believes that security will be “stepped up” for members of Congress, but political leaders also have to take responsibility for toning down the “hateful” political rhetoric, which he believes was the cause of this morning’s shooting.

“What that rhetoric and that hatefulness has led to is members of Congres, I believe, having to dodge bullets today at a baseball practice for a game that we play for charity,” Davis explained.

Asked if this represented a breakdown in political civility, he noted, “When you go to baseball practice for a game for charity and you have to dodge bullets and you watch your colleagues lay in the field. Yeah, it's my breaking point. This has to stop.”

When the shooter opened fire, Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.) was stretching behind third base, right in front of him. At the Capitol, he was still noticeably shaken and grateful he was not a target.

Fleischmann told reporters that the incident will cause lawmakers to rethink how they handle their security.

"We’ve always felt safe," he said of the team's regular baseball practices. Today’s shooting, he continued, “shows it was a good idea when they made the decision years back to give security to the speaker, to the majority leader and to the whip and also [to the leadership of] our friends in the minority.”

The fact that Capitol Police were in attendance and armed prevented the shooting from causing “a lot more damage,” Fleischmann emphasized.

“I am and will always be a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. Put it this way, if we had had more weapons there we could have subdued that shooter more quickly,” he said.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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