Five people were wounded on Wednesday morning when a gunman opened fire at a baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia. Republican members of the US Congress and their staffers were holding a practice for the annual congressional charity game, a tradition in the US capital since 1909.
Senate Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana), 51, was shot in the hip. The bullet fractured bones, injured internal organs and caused severe bleeding, the MedStar Washington Hospital Center said in a statement Thursday.
“His condition is critical, and he will require additional operations,” the hospital said.
Former congressional staffer Matt Mika was shot multiple times in the chest and arm and “requires assistance to breathe,” according to his family. Mika worked for two Michigan Republicans before becoming a lobbyist in 2008, and was volunteering to help with the practice.
“We understand he is lucky to be alive,” the family said, crediting Mika’s survival to his “fighting spirit” and the heroism of Capitol Police agents who took down the shooter.
Zachary Barth, staffer for Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas), and Capitol Police agents Crystal Griner and David Bailey were also wounded in the attack, but their injuries are not life-threatening.
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The shooter was identified as James T. Hodgkinson, 66. He died of his injuries on Wednesday afternoon.
Hodgkinson previously resided in the St. Louis suburb of Belleville, Illinois, where he worked as a home inspector. He let his business license expire and moved to the Washington, DC area in March, where he reportedly lived out of his white cargo van and frequented the YMCA in Alexandria located next to the baseball field.
A cell phone, a camera and a computer were recovered from Hodgkinson’s vehicle, the FBI said in a statement.
A former mayor of Alexandria, William Euille, told CNN that he saw Hodgkinson around the YMCA, and described him as a “loner.” The YMCA said that Hodgkinson had canceled his membership on Tuesday, and said he was moving. He had access to the facility on Wednesday, and arrived less than two hours before the shooting, the YMCA said in a statement.
Hodgkinson’s relatives told the Belleville News-Democrat they thought he had retired and moved to Washington, which his sister described as a “nasty place.”
“I was under the impression he was going down there to protest,” said his niece, Michelle Travous.
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The former inspector’s social media accounts showed passionate support for Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and anger toward President Donald Trump and the Republican party in general.
On Wednesday, speaking on the Senate floor, Sanders condemned the “despicable act” and added, “Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society.”
Authorities are still working to determine the motive for the attack, according to AP.
Hodgkinson was armed with a 7.62-caliber rifle and a 9-mm handgun. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) determined both were purchased legally, the FBI said Thursday. The Bureau is currently seeking more information about the attacker.