Washington, June 14 A key US Republican politician and multiple congressional aides were shot by a gunman at a GOP baseball practice match in Virginia state on Wednesday.
House of Representatives majority whip Steve Scalise, 51, was shot in the hip. He was undergoing surgery at a hospital and was in stable condition.
Representative Mo Brooks told CNN that “at least five” people were injured in the shooting, including two law enforcement officers and a congressional aide.
Capitol Police said officers who were part of Scalise’s security detail returned fire and wounded the shooter, who was taken into custody.
President Donald Trump said on Twitter that “Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, a true friend and patriot, was badly injured but will fully recover. Our thoughts and prayers are with him.”
“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,” he said.
In a statement, Texas Rep. Roger Williams, one of the team’s coaches, said one of his staff members was shot during the incident and was receiving medical attention.
Members of Congress were practising for a game that was scheduled for Thursday night at Nationals Park, CNN reported.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said “it would have been a massacre” without Capitol Hill Police.
“Nobody would have survived without the Capitol Hill police,” Paul said on CNN. “It would have been a massacre without them.”
Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake added that he saw a member of Scalise’s security detail return fire on the gunman for what felt like 10 minutes, even though the police officer was wounded in the leg.
“Fifty (shots) would be an understatement, I’m quite sure,” Flake said when asked about the total amount of gunfire, including police returning fire.
Flake said two members of Scalise’s security detail were wounded, and another man was wounded in the chest.
Rep. Ron DeSantis told Fox News he left just before the shooting.
DeSantis said as he walked to his car, a man asked him if it was Republicans or Democrats practising.
About three minutes later, at around 7.15 a.m., the shooting began, DeSantis said. It reportedly lasted about 10 minutes.
Rep. Brad Wenstrup told Fox News he “felt like I was in Iraq, but without my weapon”.
About 15 to 25 people were at Simpson Field in Alexandria for the baseball practice when the gunman opened fire, eyewitnesses said.
Scalise is the first member of Congress to be shot since former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords was shot in January 2011.