Gunman dead after attacking congressmen at Virginia baseball field

A gunman who sprayed bullets at Republican lawmakers during baseball practice in a Washington DC suburb has died, US President Donald Trump said.

House of Representatives Majority Whip Steve Scalise was one of five injured in the early morning ambush at a park in Alexandria, Virginia.

The attacker, identified as Illinois native James T Hodgkinson, 66, was killed after a firefight with police.

The injured included two officers with non-life threatening wounds.

Hodgkinson was self-employed until recently and worked as a home inspector.

He had campaigned for former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

A Facebook account that appears to belong to Hodgkinson is filled with anti-Republican and anti-Trump posts.

Mr Sanders, a Vermont senator, said he was “sickened by this despicable act” and condemned Hodgkinson’s actions.

President Trump described the attack as a “very, very brutal assault”.

“We may have our differences, but we do well in times like these to remember that everyone who serves in our nation’s capital is here because, above all, they love our country,” he added.

The president visited Mr Scalise – who was shot in the left hip and is in a critical condition after surgery – at the MedStar Washington Hospital Center on Wednesday evening, describing him as a “patriot and a fighter”.

The hospital said Mr Scalise had suffered fractured bones, internal organ injuries and severe bleeding and would require further operations.

What we know about suspect

  • James T Hodgkinson is a 66-year-old man from Belleville, Illinois
  • His wife told ABC News he moved to Virginia two months ago
  • His Facebook account shows anti-Republican and anti-Trump rhetoric
  • He volunteered on the campaign of Bernie Sanders
  • He had a string of criminal convictions, including traffic violations and allegations of violence

What we know about James T Hodgkinson

The lawmakers were practising for the annual congressional ballgame that organisers vowed would go ahead as planned on Thursday at Nationals Park, home of Major League Baseball team the Washington Nationals.

Alexandria police said the FBI was taking over the investigation into the shooting, which began shortly after 07:00 (11:00 GMT) on Wednesday morning at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park.

‘Sitting ducks’

As well as Mr Scalise, two police officers, Krystal Griner and David Bailey, lobbyist Matt Mika and Zack Barth, a congressional aide for Texas lawmaker Roger Williams, were injured.

Mr Barth, a former staffer for two Republican congressmen, was shot in the chest, according to witness Arizona Senator Jeff Flake.

Mr Flake told reporters he was at bat during the shooting and the victims were “sitting ducks”.

Source: BBC


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