Congressman Steve Scalise and at least three others were shot at a baseball practice around 7:09 a.m. Wednesday and several others were reportedly hit by rifle fire at a recreational facility in Alexandria, Virginia.
The shooter, a middle-aged white male, is alive and in custody in what was described by police as a “deliberate attack” on unarmed civilians.
A congressional staffer told WND that the gunman approached the game and asked Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., if Democrats or Republicans were on the field.
When DeSantis replied, “Republicans,” the gunman walked away and then came back blasting.
President Trump tweeted that Scalise, “a good friend,” was seriously injured “but will recover.”
Scalise, R-La., is the majority whip in the House, making him the number-three House leader. He was reportedly conscious and stable.
Scalise, who was playing second-base, dragged himself to the outfield to try to escape the shooter and used his belt as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding.
One congressional aide was reportedly shot, and at least two others went down.
Capitol Police immediately returned fire against the gunman and back-up arrived from the Alexandria Police Department.
The gunman was reportedly armed with a rifle and a pistol.
Sen. Rand Paul, who was in the batting cage when the attack took place, told NBC News that the gunman used a high-powered semi-automatic rifle.
The identity of the suspect has not been released.
Paul said he heard between 50 and 60 shots fired.
Paul told MSNBC if Scalise’s security detail had not been on site, “it would have been a massacre.”
“He continued to reload,” Paul said of the shooter. “I could see way in the distance. The gun sounded like an AR-15 to most of us. Everyone probably would have died except that the Capitol Police were there. By him [Scalise] being there probably saved everyone else’s life because if you don’t have a leadership person there you don’t have a security detail there.”
The GOP congressmen were practicing for an annual bipartisan softball game that was scheduled for Friday at Nationals Field in Washington.
Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., said the shooter was “going after elected officials. It sure as hell wasn’t an accident.”
Brooks said the attacker shot at both security details as “congressmen were on phone screaming for reinforcement.”
The attack took place at Alexandria Simpson Baseball Field. The area is considered safe although it has had some instances of violent crime recently.
Brooks said Capitol Police were on scene immediately and prevented a massacre.
At least two members of the Capitol Police were reported wounded.
The gunman was shot and taken to a local hospital. His condition is unknown at this time.
Windows at the neighboring YMCA were shattered.
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