Politics

Gunman Targets Congressmen: House Majority Leader Shot

Lawmakers ambushed by shooter at baseball practice in Virginia, it was 'sort of a killing field'

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) was shot Wednesday morning during an ambush of lawmakers in Alexandria, Virginia.

In addition to House Majority Whip Scalise, early reports indicate two Capitol police officers and a congressional aide were also shot. They were attacked by a lone gunman during a practice for the upcoming congressional baseball game.

“Shooting at Congressional baseball practice. Scalise hit. Other staffers hit. Gunmen with rifle,” tweeted Fox News reporter Chad Pergram.

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“I heard Steve Scalise scream,” eyewitness Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) told CNN. Brooks reportedly used his belt as a tourniquet on Scalise, who was hit in either the thigh or hip.

Alexandria and Capitol Hill police gave a press conference to update the public on the incident.

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“We received a call of an active shooter [and] shots fired … at nine minutes after 7 a.m. this morning,” said Chief Michael Brown of the Alexandria police. “We were there within three minutes,” Brown said. “We do know that officers from the Capitol Hill Police as well as officers from our department who were on scene responded. Two of our officers engaged and returned fire,” Brown said.

Brown also told reporters that his department is collaborating on the investigation with both the Capitol Hill Police and the FBI.

The assailant fired at least 50 rounds, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) told Fox News. Reports about the fate of the attacker are conflicting. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) said the gunman was shot, while Pergram told Fox News that someone familiar with the situation said the perpetrator was shot but is alive and in custody.

“The first thing we heard, it was a loud gunshot,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who was there, told Fox News Wednesday morning. “Before we could think too much … there was a quick succession of maybe five or 10 shots in a row, and then people began to drop,” Paul said. The Kentucky senator said at least 50 or 60 rounds were released over the course of at least 10 minutes.

“I felt like I was back in Iraq but without my weapon.”

“It was also sort of a killing field, a wide open field with an AR-15,” said Paul. The senator credited Scalise’s security detail, members of the Capitol Hill police, for stopping the gunman before more people were shot. “We were lucky Scalise’s security detail was there. Without them it would have been a massacre, there was no stopping this guy,” said Paul.”We were like sitting ducks.”

Another lawmaker in attendance said the experience felt like being on the battlefield.

“I felt like I was back in Iraq but without my weapon,” Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) told Fox News.

The White House released a statement early Wednesday noting President Donald Trump and Vice President Pence had been briefed on the situation.

“The vice president and I are aware of the shooting incident in Virginia and are monitoring developments closely,” the statement read, “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.”

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