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Virginia shooting: Republican House Whip Steve Scalise 'critical'

16 June 2017, 07:38 | Grady King

House Majority Whip Scalise, police shot at Virginia baseball practice Add to ...

Clair County Illinois Sheriff's Deparment shows James T. Hodgkinson

Barth had been in the outfield fielding balls when the shooting began, while Williams was on third base, the congressman said.

It was more than 100 years ago, in 1909, that members of Congress started the tradition of squaring off in an annual congressional baseball game.

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite). The assailant had nursed grievances against President Donald Trump and the GOP - and was shot by police and later died.

MedStar Washington Hospital Center says Scalise underwent surgery Thursday related to his internal injuries and a broken bone in his leg.

"Everyone on that field is a public servant", the president said. Specifically, he said Democrats have said the intention of the GOP's health care proposal is "literally to kill people".

While police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation said it was too early to determine whether it was a deliberate political attack, the shooting intensified concerns about the sharp divide and bitter rhetoric in United States politics.

Across the Potomac River in Washington, the shocking events left the Capitol horrified and stunned, and prompted immediate reflection on the current hostility and vitriol in American politics.

House of Representatives proceedings were cancelled for the day and instead speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California issued their own calls for unity.

"Let us not jump immediately into blaming this one or that one", said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas. Traditionally, only certain leaders in the House and Senate receive a security detail. Hodgkinson had a history of lashing out at Republicans and apparently had volunteered for Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign.

Sanders said he was "sickened by this despicable act" and denounced any use of violence.

The shooting of Majority Whip Steve Scalise, as a member of House leadership, has garnered the most attention. A former congressional aide was hospitalized.

A gunman opened fire on a Republican baseball practice, shooting a top House Republican and wounding several others.

"The comments made by my Republican colleagues are outrageous, beneath the dignity of the job that they hold, beneath the dignity of the respect that we would like Congress to command".

The congressional baseball game Scalise and his fellow Republicans were training for is scheduled to go ahead Thursday night at Washington's Nationals Park.

Authorities believe Hodgkinson had been in the Alexandria area since March, living out of a cargo van and not working, Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Tim Slater said. Vice President (Mike) Pence has spoken to him. A photo on his Facebook page shows Lefiti in his brown UPS uniform holding a trophy. "All the time we were under fire, he was texting, letting people know we were under fire and needed help".

"There is not much a senator or congressman can do to protect himself", Brooks said. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) said.

Trump brought with him to the hospital Dr. Ronny Jackson, the White House physician, who had visited the center earlier in the day to ascertain Scalise's condition from doctors there.

Investigators said Thursday that weapons recovered at the Alexandria scene were purchased legally and that they are examining electronics recovered from the suspect's vehicle, including his cell phone, computer and camera.

Lawmakers took cover in the dugout. But he said he was a passionate person who occasionally got into fights.

Threats come not just from Islamic extremism or right-wing sources, but the "hard left", Levin said.

On social media, heartbroken family members of Lefiti recalled him as a warm-spirited man devoted to his children and family.

Besides Scalise, lobbyist Matt Mika and congressional staffer Zack Barth were also shot, suffering minor injuries, officials said. He had surgery on Wednesday and blood transfusions, and will require additional surgeries, the hospital said.

"Members of Congress acknowledge that it's gone too far and we have to calm down".



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