US Rep. Steve Scalise shot at baseball practice in Virginia

A top House Republican, Steve Scalise of Louisiana, was shot by a rifle-wielding gunman Wednesday at a congressional baseball practice just outside of Washington. 

Several other people were also believed to have been hit, according to a lawmaker who witnessed the shooting.

Capitol police said officers who were part of Scalise's security detail returned fire and wounded the shooter, who was taken into custody.

ABC News said the shooter was identified by law enforcement as James T. Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Illinois.

Scalise, the House majority whip, was in stable condition at George Washington University Hospital, according to one congressional aide. His injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.

The shooting occurred at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in Alexandria, Virginia, where lawmakers and others were gathered for a morning practice about 7 a.m. The Congressional Baseball Game for Charity between Democrats and Republicans was scheduled to be played Thursday.

"All of a sudden we heard a very loud shot. The gunman was over by the third base dugout with a clear view of the field," Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, told CNN.

Once the gunman was down, Flake ran to Scalise and tended to him. He said he grabbed Scalise's phone to call his wife.

"I just didn't want her to wake up and learn the news," Flake said.

Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Alabama, said several other people also were hit, including two law enforcement officers. 

Brooks said that Scalise, 51, was down on the ground with what Brooks described as "a hip wound."

Rep. Mike Bishop, R-Michigan, said Scalise was standing on second base when he was shot.

"I was looking right at him," Bishop told Detroit radio station WWJ. "He was a sitting duck."

Brooks said Scalise "crawled into the outfield, leaving a trail of blood.""We started giving him the liquids," Brooks said. "I put pressure on his wound in his hip."

Scalise is the No. 3 House Republican leader. He was first elected to the House in 2008 after serving in the state legislature.

Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-South Carolina, said in a statement that he was at the practice and "saw the shooter."

"Please pray for my colleagues," Duncan said.

House Speaker Paul Ryan's office said Scalise's wounds were not believed to be life-threatening and that a member of the security detail was also shot.

Four Florida congressmen -- Ron Desantis, Matt Gaetz, Dennis Ross and Tom Rooney -- were on the Republican congressional baseball team roster.

DeSantis, who was at the practice, said he had a strange encounter with a man moments before the shooting.

"There was a guy that walked up to us that was asking whether it was Republicans and Democrats out there," DeSantis told Fox News. "And it was just a little odd."

DeSantis said the man wasn't carrying anything at the time.

"The vice president and I are aware of the shooting incident in Virginia and are monitoring developments closely," President Donald Trump said in a statement. "We are deeply saddened by this tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the members of Congress, their staffs, Capitol police, first responders and all others affected."

This BBSNews article was syndicated from News | WPLG, and written by News | WPLG. Read the original article here.