One of the top Republicans in Congress, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), was shot and wounded after a gunman opened fire during a congressional baseball practice Wednesday morning in Northern Virginia. Scalise was hit in the hip and underwent surgery; he is currently in critical condition at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.
Four others, including a congressional staffer, a lobbyist, and two members of the Capitol Police, were also hit in the attack. The shooter, James Hodgkins, a 66-year-old from Illinois, was taken to a hospital after being shot by police during the attack and died of multiple gunshot wounds to the torso, FBI special agent Tim Slater Wednesday.
Here’s what we know:
- The shooter attacked Republican members of Congress during an early morning practice for an annual charity baseball game on Wednesday near Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in Alexandria. The game, a partisan match between Democratic and Republican lawmakers, had been scheduled for Thursday evening.
- Scalise, the third highest-ranking House Republican, was admitted to MedStar Washington Hospital Center Wednesday in critical condition; doctors later said he arrived “at imminent risk of death.” He underwent surgery on Wednesday, with further surgeries needed in future.
- As of Friday afternoon, Scalise remained in intensive care, and his condition was described as “critical” by Dr. Jack Sava of MedStar. Sava said that Scalise will “hopefully” be able to walk and run again at some point in the future. There isn’t yet a timetable for his recovery.
- The shooter has been identified by police officials as James T. Hodgkinson, a 66-year-old man from Illinois, who the FBI believes has been in Virginia since March.
- The FBI and the Alexandria Police Department said Wednesday afternoon that the FBI is “actively investigating Hodgkinson, to include his associates, whereabouts, social media impressions, and potential motivations. This is an active investigation that continues to unfold.” They also said that “the ATF is running a trace on two weapons, to include a rifle and a handgun.”
Capitol Police reported Wednesday that the two weapons were a 9 mm handgun and a 7.62 caliber rifle, in a statement.
- The FBI and Alexandria Police released the following account of the incident:
At approximately 7:09 a.m. on June 14, the Alexandria Police Department responded to the scene at 400 East Monroe Avenue in Alexandria, Virginia. They arrived at 7:12 a.m. to shots fired in the vicinity of Eugene Simpson Stadium Park, where members of a congressional baseball team were practicing. Multiple members of Congress were present on scene; therefore, United States Capitol Police officers were also on scene.
The subject was engaged by law enforcement and shot at approximately 7:14 a.m.
Five individuals were transported by Alexandria EMS, Arlington County EMS, and U.S. Park Police helicopter to local hospitals with gunshot wounds. Those transported include a United States Capitol Police officer who is hospitalized and is reported to be in stable condition, a congressman, one congressional staffer, one lobbyist, and the subject.
A second congressman sustained minor injuries and was also transported by a medic unit.
One additional United States Capitol Police officer was transported to the hospital in a police cruiser for minor injuries and has been released.
- The suspect, Hodgkinson, was taken to a hospital but died of his injuries — multiple gunshot wounds to the torso — Wednesday morning, according to President Donald Trump and the FBI.
- Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), who was at the scene, used his belt as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding from an unidentified victim, Brooks said on CNN. Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), who is a doctor, also tended to Scalise, Wenstrup told CBS News.
- Zachary Barth, a staffer for Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX), posted on Facebook that he was among those shot but is “at the hospital and okay.”
- Matt Mika, a lobbyist who is the director of government relations for Tyson Foods, was also shot in the attack, according to a Tyson Foods statement (and reported by NBC).
- Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) identified Special Agent David Bailey and Special Agent Crystal Griner, both of Capitol Police, as other victims of the attack.
- Five people, including the gunman, were transported to local hospitals, according to Alexandria Police Chief Michael Brown.
- George Washington University Hospital received two victims from the Alexandria shooting, both of whom were in critical condition as of Wednesday morning, according to Susan Griffiths, assistant director of marketing and public relations for the hospital. The hospital would not identify the patients, and it’s not clear whether one of them was the shooter (who has since died) or whether they were both victims.
- Special Agent Crystal Griner is also at MedStar Washington and is in good condition as of Friday afternoon, according to the hospital.
- Police received a call reporting the shooting at around 7:09 am and arrived three minutes later, according to Brown. Brooks said he heard about 50 shots.
- Brooks identified the shooter as a white middle-aged man with a rifle.
- Two Alexandria police officers exchanged gunfire with the shooter, according to Alexandria Police Chief Michael Brown. Two Capitol Police officers, who were already at the scene with members of Congress, also exchanged gunfire with the shooter, according to Capitol Police Chief Matthew Verderosa.
- The FBI took over the investigation, said Tim Slater, the special agent in charge of the bureau’s Washington field office. “It’s too early to tell” the motive of the shooter, he said during a press briefing, adding that he does not believe it was an assassination attempt.
- Eyewitnesses, including Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Flake, said that the officers were members of the Capitol Police force, which is specifically charged to protect Capitol Hill and individual members of the House and Senate leadership. "Had [Capitol Police] not been there, it would have been a massacre," who was at the scene, said on MSNBC after the shooting.
- Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC), who left the practice early, said in a Facebook post that he saw the shooter before the attack and plans to give a statement to police. (It’s not clear if Duncan is correct that the man he spoke to was the shooter; the way that Duncan described him according to RealClearNews’s Rebecca Berg doesn’t match up with the eyewitness description of the shooter provided by Flake.)
What we don’t know:
- The extent of victims’ injuries and their current condition. Barth, who was shot in the calf, was released from the hospital and came to the Capitol building with Rep. Roger Williams on Thursday.
- The motives of the shooter are still not clear. While Hodgkinson (who has reportedly been identified as the shooter) was a vocal progressive who reportedly volunteered on Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, the shooter didn’t make any political statements on the scene, and no evidence has yet come out suggesting Hodgkinson called for violence against Republicans before Wednesday.