Without Scalise, Congressmen would have been defenseless

Gwen Vasquez
June 16, 2017

Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana was shot by a rifle-wielding gunman Wednesday morning at a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia, just outside of Washington. He said that he and his GOP colleagues had felt hopeless as the gunfire continued and they saw Scalise alone and hit out on the field.

Trump who initially spoke out against the shooting from the Diplomatic Room in the White House added on Thursday that Scalise "may have brought some unity to our long-divided country". And I have a feeling that Steve has made a great sacrifice, but there could be some unity being brought to our country.

He repeatedly praised the Capitol Police officers and first responders who quickly mobilized to the softball field where the Republican baseball team was practicing ahead of Thursday night's charity game against a Democratic team.

Four miles north of the Capitol, Scalise, 51, lay at Medstar Washington Hospital Center with a rifle wound in his left hip that shattered bones, tore organs and caused severe bleeding.

Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, D-Missouri, says the tone that Congress is setting is sending ripples across the country.

In a closed-door, all-member House briefing Wednesday morning, Rep. Al Green, a Democrat from Texas who has called for Trump's impeachment on the House floor, rose to say "an attack on one is an attack on all".

The shooter had a gun, and we only had baseball bats, said U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, R-Cleburne, who coaches the team and sprained his ankle while diving for cover. Two Capitol Police officers sustained relatively minor injuries.

Lawmakers and their staffs said Wednesday's shooting once again exposed a reality that they are vulnerable targets anytime they leave the security of the Capitol.

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The baseball tradition is said to have forged a friendship between Richmond and his fellow Louisiana representative Steve Scalise.

Nearly immediately, reports began to surface from members of Congress at the practice that, just before the shooting, someone had asked them whether the people playing on the field were Republicans or Democrats.

The House used a voice vote Thursday to approve a resolution lauding the Capitol Police for protecting lawmakers and stating that "violence has no place" in society. The popular and gregarious lawmaker is known for his love of baseball and handed out commemorative bats when he secured the job of House whip several years ago.

The team of Democrats and Republicans holds an annual softball game against female journalists.

Hodgkinson had been in the Alexandria area since March, living out of his van, said local FBI Special Agent In Charge Tim Slater.

When Rep. Mike Bishop of MI described the chaos and helplessness of the victims - "He was hunting us", he said, adding that "there was so much gunfire you couldn't get up and run" - grim memories of other hellish and similar scenes came to mind.

The man's apparent Facebook page included strong criticism of Republicans and the Trump administration. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, sought safety.

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