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Congressman Steve Scalise and at least three others were shot at a baseball practice shortly after 7 a.m. Wednesday at a recreational facility in Alexandria, Virginia.

The group of Republican lawmakers were practicing for the upcoming congressional baseball game, which is an annual tradition in Washington.

The shooter, described as a middle-aged white male with dark hair, is alive and in custody at a local hospital in what was described by police as a “deliberate attack” on unarmed civilians.

The suspect is James T. Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois, according to law-enforcement officials.

See video of the shooting:

Hodgkinson is described as a “passionate progressive” who campaigned for Sen. Bernie Sanders in the presidential election, according to a report in the Washington Post.

To really understand the war zone America is becoming, read the June issue of WND’s acclaimed monthly Whistleblower magazine, “RAGE AND VIOLENCE: Why the Left has gone insane in the Age of Trump.”

Sanders issued a statement about the shooting:

“Our prayers go out for a full recovery of Rep. Scalise, the congressional aides and police officers who were injured. We’ve got to stop the violence.”

What do YOU think? What’s the most important lesson of Wednesday’s shooting attack? Sound off in today’s WND poll!

A congressional staffer told WND that the gunman approached the game and asked Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla.: “Are you Democrats or Republicans?”

When DeSantis replied, “Republicans,” the gunman walked away and then came back blasting.

DeSantis recounted an “odd” encounter he had as he was leaving the field just minutes before the shooting: “There was a guy that walked up to us that was asking whether it was Republicans or Democrats out there, and it was just a little odd,” DeSantis told Fox News.

President Trump tweeted that Scalise, “a true friend and patriot,” was seriously injured “but will recover.”

Trump later announced that the gunman “has now died from his injuries.”

Trump later spoke from the Diplomatic Room of the White House and announced that the gunman “has now died from his injuries.”

“Many lives would have been lost if not for the heroic actions of the two Capitol Police officers who took down the gunman despite sustaining gunshot wounds during a very, very brutal assault,” said the president.

President Trump’s statement:

Scalise, R-La., is the majority whip in the House, making him the No. 3 House Republican leader. He was reportedly conscious and stable headed into surgery with injuries deemed non-life threatening.

Scalise, who was playing second base, dragged himself to the outfield to try to escape the shooter and a fellow Republican lawmaker used his belt as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding.

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Zach Barth, a congressional aide of Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas, was also shot. Two Capitol Police officers were hit as they returned fire in a ferocious shootout.

Three congressmen came to George Washington University Hospital around 10:30 a.m. seeking word on the condition of Matt Mika, a lobbyist who was wounded in Wednesday’s shooting.

“Matt Mika, one of the guys who helps us, is here at the hospital,” said Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Tex. “He’s been a big part of the team for a number of years and just a great athlete, helps us frankly at second base and at shortstop. He’s a great guy.”

The hospital said it is treating two patients from the shooting who remain in critical condition, reported the Washington Post.

Capitol Police immediately returned fire against the gunman and back-up arrived within three minutes from the Alexandria Police Department.

A source told WND the only reason there was a Capitol Police security detail at the event is because Scalise is a member of the GOP leadership team.

The gunman was said to be armed with a rifle and a pistol.

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Sen. Rand Paul, who was in the batting cage when the attack took place, told NBC News that the gunman used a high-powered semi-automatic rifle.

Paul said he heard between 50 and 60 shots fired.

Paul told MSNBC if Scalise’s security detail had not been on site, “it would have been a massacre.”

“He continued to reload,” Paul said of the shooter. “I could see way in the distance. The gun sounded like an AR-15 to most of us. Everyone probably would have died except that the Capitol Police were there. By him [Scalise] being there probably saved everyone else’s life because if you don’t have a leadership person there you don’t have a security detail there.”

Washington in shock: Read reaction from members of Congress and others on Capitol Hill.

The attack took place at Alexandria Simpson Baseball Field.

The first 9-1-1 call came in at 7:09 a.m., police said.

“I do believe without the Capitol Hill police it would have been a massacre,” Paul said. “We had no defense at all. The field was basically a killing field.”

Watch interview with Sen. Rand Paul, eyewitness to the shooting:

At least 16 members of Congress, all GOP, were present at the field.

Along with Rep. Mo Brooks and Sen. Rand Paul, others on the field included Rep. Mike Bishop, R-Mich.; Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla.; Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.; Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas; Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C.; Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio; Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill.; Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas; Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas; Rep. Trent Kelly, R-Miss.; Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn.; Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Mich.; Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga.; and Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C.

Duncan said the shooting has “changed the world” for lawmakers.

The GOP congressmen were practicing for an annual bipartisan softball game that was scheduled for Friday at Nationals Field in Washington. The game is an annual tradition and one of the few bipartisan events that remains at the Capitol. The goal is to raise money for charity.

The congressional baseball practice started at 6 a.m.

Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., said the shooter was “going after elected officials. It sure as hell wasn’t an accident.”

Brooks said the attacker shot at both security details as “congressmen were on phone screaming for reinforcement.”

Listen to Rep. Mo Brooks describe shooting:

Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, a former combat surgeon in Iraq, was at the practice and described the scene to Fox News. “I felt like I was back in Iraq, but without my weapon.”

Brooks said other members “deferred to [Wenstrup’s] judgment on what to do” and described Wenstrup as using “some kind of scissors device” to cut through Scalise’s pants to treat his wound. “We were very lucky” Wenstrup was there, Brooks said.

Rep. Davis, who was at bat when the first gunshots rang out, said Scalise’s Capitol Police security detail prevented a massacre of more than a dozen GOP congressmen.

“They are heroes,” he told Fox News, while choking back tears. “These are the heroes that stopped the massacre of men, women and children on the field today.”

“The next thing I heard was ‘run.’ I ran to the dugout,” Davis added. “Then when the shots seemed not as frequent, I ran out to an apartment complex across the street.”

Related stories: 

Trump assassination ‘jokes’ put America on the brink

Who was anti-GOP shooter? Everything you need to know

Congressman in tears: ‘This is a result of political rhetorical terrorism’

Remorseless leftists celebrate mass shooting

Gunman at GOP ballgame: ‘Are you Democrats or Republicans?’

7 things to do to survive when facing domestic terror

20 times violence threatened, used, in wake of Dems’ political collapse

‘Proof positive of Trump derangement syndrome’ 

Michael Savage predicted ‘violence’ by ‘marginals’ day before attack

‘The game will go on’: Attack won’t stop charity event 

Scalise shooter ‘liked’ left-wing smear group linked to Chick-fil-A attack

Related columns: 

Gun control? How about Democrat zealot control? by Joseph Farah

The ‘Resistance’ goes live-fire, by Ann Coulter

Normalizing beheadings and violence, by James Zumwalt

Video of Rep. Davis praising security officers:

At least two members of the Capitol Police were reported wounded.

The gunman was shot and taken to a local hospital. His condition is unknown at this time.

Windows at the neighboring YMCA were shattered.

There were at least two congressional security members there from the Capitol Police, assigned to Scalise as a member of House leadership.

No security is provided to other members routinely – including to U.S. senators like Paul.

Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., told NBC News it appeared the “gunman was there to kill as many Republican members as possible.” Walker, who was at the practice for the upcoming annual congressional baseball game in Alexandria, Virginia, confirmed he was “shaken but OK.”

Sen. Jeff Flake speaks about congressional baseball game shooting:

Virginia’s Democrat Gov. Terry McAuliffe, speaking at a press conference, immediately blamed the attack on “gun violence.”

“This is a problem we face every day. There are too many guns on the street,” McAuliffe said. “We’re concerned about the safety of everyone not just politicians. There are 93 million Americans a day,” who are shot.

A reporter stopped him and interjected “93 million a day? That’s an awful high number isn’t it?”

McAuliffe then corrected himself, saying “93 individuals a day.”

WND asked residents in the area and witnesses for their thoughts on the tragic shooting:

To really understand the war zone America is becoming, read the June issue of WND’s acclaimed monthly Whistleblower magazine, “RAGE AND VIOLENCE: Why the Left has gone insane in the Age of Trump.”

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