DEL RAY, Va. -- A top House Republican, Steve Scalise of Louisiana, was shot by a rifle-wielding gunman Wednesday at a congressional baseball practice just outside of Washington, in what sources are calling an apparent "deliberate attack."
Three other people were also believed to have been hit. In all, five people were taken from the field to the hospital, including the suspect, Alexandria, Va., police report. That suspect, who has since died, was identified as 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois.
The Washington Post talked to an acquaintance of Hodgkinson. He tells them that they went to Iowa to campaign for Senator Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign. Hodgkinson is described as a "passionate progressive" and showed no signs of violence.
Sen. Bernie Sanders issued this statement about the shooting: “Our prayers go out for a full recovery of Rep. Scalise, the congressional aides and police officers who were injured. We’ve got to stop the violence.”
The St. Clair County prosecutor says Hodgkinson has an arrest record. It is not very extensive. He was involved a shoving match. The 2006 case was dismissed after the alleged victim didn't show up for the court hearing. In 2011 he was also involved in a traffic accident.
Scalise, a member of the House Republican leadership as the majority whip, appeared to have been shot in the hip and it appeared two Capitol Hill police agents were shot, according to Rep. Mo Brooks, who told CNN he was on deck when the shooting occurred.
“Steve Scalise is a friend and a very good friend. He’s a patriot and he’s a fighter. He will recover from this assault and, Steve, I want you to know that you have the prayers not only of the entire city behind you but of an entire nation and frankly the entire world,” President Donald Trump said when addressing the country Wednesday. “America is praying for you and America is praying for all of the victims of this shooting.”
Trump canceled a scheduled event at the Labor Department soon after the shooting took place, and the White House has said both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence received updates on the shooting.
In the wake of the shooting, Trump spoke over the phone with House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Scalise’s wife and his chief of staff, as well as the Capitol Police chief.
Watch President Trump's full address below:
Lawmakers who spoke at the scene to reporters described a normal morning practice, at a field where they've practiced for years, when all of a sudden shots rang out. Lawmakers, staff members and even the young son of one of the members ran for cover, jumping into dugouts and over fences to avoid the gunshots.
Rep. Joe Barton, team captain, recalls bravery of his two sons and sacrifice of officers during shooting
Members described Scalise dragging himself roughly 15 yards away from second base, where he had been playing, and lying there until the shooter was neutralized, at which point some of them ran to assist him and apply pressure to the wound until he could be evacuated. Once they were able, Sen. Jeff Flake said he and Rep. Brad Wenstrup, who is a physician, went out to where Scalise was lying to apply pressure to the wound. Scalise was coherent the whole time, Flake said.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul told CNN "it would have been a massacre" without Capitol Hill Police.
"Nobody would have survived without the Capitol Hill police," Paul said on CNN. "It would have been a massacre without them."
Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake added that he saw a member of Scalise's security detail return fire on the gunman for what felt like 10 minutes, even though the police officer was wounded in the leg.
"Fifty (shots) would be an understatement, I'm quite sure," Flake said when asked about the total amount of gunfire, including police returning fire.
"The gun was a semiautomatic," Brooks said, adding that he was sure it was a rifle but unsure what kind. "It continued to fire at different people. You can imagine, all the people on the field scatter.
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.
Congressman Kevin Yoder (R-Kansas) is on the team and has been for four to five years, but he was not at practice Wednesday. He spoke with FOX 4 via phone shortly after the shooting.
Watch FOX 4's full interview with Yoder below:
"It's stunning to even think that at 6:30 in the morning there would be an active shooter lined up in that area," Yoder said. "So I think all of us right now are just sort of taking it all in."
Yoder said he is praying for Scalise and the others who were injured.
"I think it's certainly a wake up call and a reminder that officials are potential targets," Yoder added. "I will say the sort of saving grace of all of this that normally members of Congress travel without any type of security, any types of weapons, no real ability to respond. But Steve Scalise, who is the majority whip. So, the leadership of the House is the speaker of the house, the majority leader and the majority whip, so he's the third in line there. Those three people all get a Capitol Police detail."
Rep. Roger Marshall of Great Bend, Kan., is also on the roster. He tweeted shortly after the shooting that he is okay but asked people to pray with him.
Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran doesn't play on the team but tweeted the following statement:
Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts also doesn't play, but tweeted:
Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill issued the following statement:
“What unspeakable evil. I'm praying that Representative Scalise, these courageous officers, and everyone else affected will be ok. There should be no partisanship here—we should come together against evil, united by our common decency.”
Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-Missouri) said he and all members of his staff are being cautious of their surroundings this morning as security has been upgraded on Capitol Hill.
"No matter your political affiliation or viewpoint, violence is never the answer to our differences. My prayers are with the families of Congressman Steve Scalise, Rep. Roger William's aide, and the two Capitol police officers. I am grateful for the women and men of the Capitol police, the Alexandria police, and other law enforcement who protect us daily."
The congressional baseball game will go on as planned Thursday night.
Scalise is the first member of Congress to be shot since former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords was shot in January 2011. Giffords was shot in the head by Jared Lee Loughner at a "Congress On Your Corner" event at a Tucson grocery store. Giffords, who authorities said was the main target of the shooting, survived the attack but six others were killed and an additional 12 were injured.
Loughner pleaded guilty in 2012 and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.