President Donald Trump said that the man who opened fire at a Republican congressional baseball practice Wednesday morning is dead.
Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., and four others, including a congressional staffer and two Capitol Hill Police officers, were shot by a gunman identified by authorities as James T. Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois. Republican members of the House and Senate were at an early-morning baseball practice at a field in Alexandria, Virginia when shots were fired.
Late Wednesday morning, Trump said Hodgkinson had died of his injuries. The president called for unity in the aftermath of the shooting.
“We may have our differences, but we do well in times like these to remember everyone who serves in our nation's capital is here because, above all, they love our country,” Trump said in a statement from the White House. “We are strongest when we are unified and when we work together for the common good.”
Trump called Scalise “a very good friend” and said the congressman is “a patriot” and “a fighter.”
Because House Majority Whip Scalise was at the game, Capitol Hill officers were present as security for the member of congressional leadership. Scalise was reported in stable condition at the scene and was transported to a Washington hospital for surgery.
Trump called the Capitol Police brave and said “their sacrifice makes democracy possible.” He also commended Alexandria police and fire and rescue.
“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,” Trump said.
The two Capitol Police officers and the congressional aide, identified as Zach Barth of the office of Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas, are also said to be in good condition.
The White House issued a statement after the shooting saying Trump and Vice President Mike Pence had been briefed on the incident.
According to the White House, Trump spoke with Scalise’s wife and his chief of staff, as well as Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
“Please take a moment today to cherish those you love, and always remember those who serve and keep us safe,” Trump said.
The annual Congressional baseball game is a charity event held every year where Republicans and Democrats face off in a friendly match. The event was to be held at Nationals Park in Washington Thursday evening. Ryan said the game will still go on as scheduled.