Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise, a high-ranking member of the Republican caucus in the U.S. House, was among several people shot Wednesday morning at a baseball practice for a congressional team in Alexandria, Virginia.
A gunman fired an estimated 50 shots from a rifle, aiming at the field’s only exit — “He was hunting us,” one congressman told the New York Times — before the gunman was shot by a security detail during an extended firefight and detained. The suspected attacker has since died. No other fatalities were reported in the first hours after the attack, and Scalise was in “good spirits,” just afterwards, his office said. (Update: As of 8 p.m., Scalise was reported to be in critical condition; lobbyist Matt Mike also was in critical condition.)
Colorado’s senators and representatives from both parties quickly offered words of sympathy and confirmed that they were safe. Rep. Jared Polis and others sheltered in place at a nearby but separate baseball facility where their Democratic team was practicing. A heavily armed police unit then swept the premises.
“This was our final practice for a congressional baseball game for charity that was scheduled for tomorrow,” Polis said in a phone interview.
At the Democrats’ practice, the team’s coach, Rep. Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania, called the team in from the field, where Polis was near second base, just after word of the shooting arrived. U.S. Capitol Police escorted the elected officials and others to the dugout, fearing that another attack was imminent.
“There were a lot of tears. We were all just in complete shock. We at that point didn’t know if we were going to be under attack,” Polis said. Those at the Democrats’ practice circled in prayer for the injured, and eventually were allowed to return to the U.S. Capitol after about 45 minutes.
Rep. Ed Perlmutter also was at the Democratic practice, according to Colorado Politics. No senator or representative from Colorado was at the scene of the shooting at the Republican practice, nor were their staff, according to Mark Matthews of The Denver Post.
“It’s a game in the spirit of friendship and camaraderie in our national pastime that really brings Republicans and Democrats together,” Polis said of tomorrow’s event, which was set this year to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington, the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation and the Washington Literacy Center.
This story will be updated throughout the day as Colorado’s elected officials offer comment.
Sen. Michael Bennet
“Still awaiting details, but my thoughts and prayers are with Steve Scalise, Capitol police officers, and all those who were injured.”
Sen. Cory Gardner
“Praying for @SteveScalise and others wounded in this horrific attack. Our nation stands as one. … The actions @CapitolPolice took today to prevent further injury is remarkable. They are all heroes.”
Rep. Diana DeGette (Denver)
From the statement:
“My heart goes out to Steve Scalise and all the others who experienced this horrific attack. I am keeping all the injured, along with their loved ones, in my thoughts.
“Members of Congress, our staff, and visitors to the U.S. Capitol place our safety in the hands of the Capitol Police every day, knowing how capable and professional these men and women are. As our thoughts turn to their injured colleagues, we also extend our deepest gratitude for the service of the entire force.”
Rep. Jared Polis (Boulder)
“Thoughts and prayers (with) my Republican baseball friends this morning … Congressional votes cancelled for today.”
Rep. Scott Tipton (Western Colorado)
“Praying for the safety of all of my colleagues who were at baseball practice this morning.”
Rep. Ken Buck (Greeley and eastern plains)
“Praying for Majority Whip Scalise and everyone else who was injured this morning. Still waiting for more details.”
Rep. Doug Lamborn (Colorado Springs)
“My staff & I are safe and accounted for. We are all praying for @SteveScalise, staffers, & family members impacted by this horrific attack.”
Rep. Mike Coffman (Aurora)
“My thoughts and prayers are with my colleagues and staff who were at the Congressional baseball practice this morning.”
Rep. Ed Perlmutter (Lakewood)
“Deeply saddened and praying for Rep. Scalise & all the others who were shot. I never expected something like this to happen.”