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15 June 2017, 04:00 | Kristin Schwartz
The Hill staff
The Illinois man who shot a top Republican congressman and several other people Wednesday while they practiced baseball outside the nation's capital had several minor run-ins with the law in recent years and belonged to a Facebook group called "Terminate the Republican Party". He served as a member of Louisiana's state Legislature for 12 years before being elected to the U.S. House. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the members of Congress, their staffs, Capitol Police, first responders, and all others affected", Trump said in a statement. "He is grateful for the fearless actions of U.S. Capitol Police, first responders and colleagues", his office said in a statement.
Brooks said he heard at least 10 to 20 shots from the shooter, who used a rifle, before security was able to return fire.
Police in Alexandria would only say they were investigating a shooting, the AP reported.
A shooter blasted dozens of rounds at a gathering of Republican lawmakers practising for their annual baseball game against Democrats, spraying bullets across the field from his vantage point along the third-base line.
Congressman Palmer said we must determine a way to bring this country together.
"I hear another "blam" and I realize that there's an active shooter, " he said.
Scalise spokesman Chris Bond said he would be checking with the hospital throughout the day for updates on the condition of the congressman and the other wounded people. Scalise was coherent the whole time, Flake said. "As I was getting into the vehicle with one of my colleagues", DeSantis said, "there was a guy that walked up to us that was asking whether there was Republicans or Democrats out there". "It continued to fire at different people".
The shooting took place at a practice for the GOP congressional baseball team.
Jason Lindsay, executive director of Pride Fund to End Gun Violence, said in a statement the shooting is "another reminder that no one is safe when access to guns is so easy".
DeSantis told Fox News he left the practice early, "a couple of minutes" before the shooting occurred.
"It's pretty well known in the neighborhood who those folks are on the baseball field", Brooks said. Capitol Police were also on hand because Scalise was present, NPR's Scott Horsley reports, and exchanged gunfire with the suspect. "My first thoughts go to the heroism of the Capitol Police that were there and responding immediately in a manner that likely saved the lives of a number of people", Meehan said.
The shooter, who she saw duck several times, was near a set of stairs about 50 feet from the officers.
Republican Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama told CNN that after hearing "blam", he looked around and saw a rifle behind the third base dugout.
Texas Rep. Mike Conaway, who was at the game, described what sounded like an explosion, then lawmakers scattering off the field as police roamed in search of the gunman and engaged him.
"But for the Capitol police and the heroism they showed, it could very well have been a large-scale massacre". We feel so deeply about the things that we fight for and the things that we believe in.
He also noted the importance of Scalise being accompanied by Capitol Hill police, whom Barton said were sitting behind the first base dugout, an extra layer of security afforded only to the members of congressional leadership.
Capitol Hill Police notified congressional offices that the security presence on the Hill would be increased "out of an abundance of caution".
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