A Republican congressman was shot at a GOP baseball practice in Virginia on Wednesday morning in an attack that is being described as deliberate.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and his aides were shot by a gunman. Scalise was listed in stable condition, Fox News reported.
Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, told Fox News: “We were like sitting ducks.”
“Without the Capitol Hill police it would have been a massacre,” Paul added.
President Donald Trump issued a response on the matter, tweeting at 8:48 a.m.: “Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, a true friend and patriot, was badly injured but will fully recover. Our thoughts and prayers are with him.”
“The vice president and I are aware of the shooting incident in Virginia and are monitoring developments closely,” President Trump elaborated in a written 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.”
The armed assailant was shot by US Capitol Police, who apprehended him and took him to the hospital, officials told Fox.
CNN is reporting that congressional and law enforcement sources told its reporters that it was a “deliberate attack.”
“50 (shots) would be an understatement, I’m quite sure,” Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake told CNN.
“The gun was a semiautomatic,” Rep. Mo Brooks said. “It continued to fire at different people. You can imagine, all the people on the field scatter.” He said he’s not sure what kind of weapon it was.
“Finally, the shooter was shot behind home plate as he was circling around to the first base dugout where there were a number of US congressmen and other folks,” he was quoted as saying by a local radio station. “Our security detail was able to incapacitate him at that point. I don’t know if he [the shooter] was dead. He was wounded. I don’t know how many times he was wounded.”
“Behind third base, I see a rifle…I hear Steve Scalise over near 2nd base scream,” Brooks noted. “…While all of this is going on, Steve Scalise our whip was lying on the ground near the second base position crawling into right field, leaving a trail of blood.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan and Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy are currently safe on Capitol Hill and are getting updates.
In 2011, Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords was shot in the head by lone gunman Jared Lee Loughner during a community event at a grocery store. Giffords survived the attack but six others were slain and 12 were injured.