WASHINGTON (WAVY) — House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was among multiple people shot early Wednesday morning in Alexandria.
The assailant, who had nursed grievances against President Donald Trump and the GOP, fought a running gun battle with police before he, too, was shot and later died. The shooter was identified as James T. Hodgkinson, a 66-year-old home inspector from Illinois.
Congressman Scott Taylor (R-2nd District) and his staff reached out to Scalise’s staff and another at the field.
“They said he came to the field, and asked, ‘Who is playing Republicans or Democrats?’ He told them Republicans, and then he came back 20 minutes later and started shooting,” Taylor said. “Tensions are obviously very high in the country right now. It is incumbent to leaders and media to tamp down those emotions.”
Taylor told WAVY.com the two Capitol police officers providing required security detail for Scalise stopped the shooter before the event became a massacre, and Governor Terry McAuliffe said that, too.
“I have been told members of the community came out to be of assistance. This is truly an extraordinary effort, and I also want to compliment the Capitol Hill Police for their quick action and through their heroic efforts that saved a lot of lives…” Taylor said.
“Dorothy and I are shocked and deeply saddened by this horrible act of violence against members of Congress, law enforcement and other innocent people who were simply enjoying an early morning baseball practice. We are praying for swift recoveries for those who were injured and we are thankful for the bravery and quick action of U.S. Capitol Police and local first responders to stop the attacker and treat those who were wounded,” a statement from McAuliffe reads. “Virginia public safety officials are coordinating with local responders and we will continue to monitor this situation and make every resource available.”
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) called the attack “outrageous” in a tweet.
“These kind of things create massive anxiety,” Kaine continued. “It is important that we need to stand together against any violence, or hateful rhetoric.”
Kaine remembers January 8, 2011, when Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords survived an assassination attempt that left her with a brain injury.
“When that happens, it makes you afraid, and then you go back doing your job when this happens,” Sen. Kaine said. “It makes you afraid, makes your families afraid. It makes you think about your colleagues.”
Several other local, state and national leaders took to social media and issued statements in reaction.
Rep. Bobby Scott (D-3rd District) sent out his thoughts Wednesday to the victims in the shooting.
Numerous others responded to the shooting on social media, including President Donald Trump:
Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01) released the following statement on the shooting at the GOP baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia.
My thoughts and prayers are with my colleagues who were at the Congressional Baseball Game practice this morning, their staff, Capitol Police, and first responders. While I was not present this morning, I’ve played in the game in the past and attended these practices. It is horrifying to think of my teammates and others in attendance being attacked in this way and I want them to know they have my support during this difficult time.”
Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam issued the following statement on the shooting of Congressman Steve Scalise and multiple others in Alexandria:
I am horrified and saddened by this tragic news. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this senseless violence, including Congressman Steve Scalise and multiple others in Alexandria. The action taken by Capitol Police to protect those present is courageous and should be recognized as such. I also want to commend the brave action of Alexandria police. I have every confidence that Virginia law enforcement will get to the bottom of this unspeakable crime swiftly.”