US & Canada

Steve Scalise shooting: What we know about Virginia attack

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The FBI has taken over the investigation into the shooting

Top US Republican Steve Scalise and four other people have been shot and wounded while Republican lawmakers were practising for a congressional baseball game in Alexandria, Virginia, a suburb of Washington DC.

A suspect who was wounded in a shootout with police was taken into custody and President Donald Trump later said he had died. He was named by US media as James T Hodgkinson, 66, of Illinois.

What happened?

House of Representatives Majority Whip Steve Scalise and a group of Republican colleagues from both the House and the Senate were practising for Thursday's annual congressional ballgame against the Democrats.

Their practice game was being held at the YMCA baseball fields, near Alexandria's Eugene Simpson Stadium Park.

Witnesses said the players scattered from the field as 50-100 shots were fired at about 06:30 (10:30 GMT).

Rep Scalise, who was fielding at second base at the time, was shot in the hip. Colleagues tended to him, using a belt as a tourniquet to stop his bleeding.

A gunfight ensued between the gunman and Mr Scalise's police security detail.

Two police officers were also wounded, along with a congressional staffer and a lobbyist.

The attacker was said to have been armed with a rifle and a pistol, using a dugout for protection.

Democrats were practising on a different field at the time.

Latest updates

What do we know about the attacker?

Image copyright Courtesy St Clair County State's Attorney Office
Image caption James T Hodgkinson in a police mugshot from 2006

US media quoting officials named the suspect as James T Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Illinois.

Mr Trump in a TV address said the "assailant has now died from his injuries".

Hodgkinson's Facebook page contained posts with anti-Republican and anti-Trump rhetoric, and also strong praise for Democratic former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

The Belleville News-Democrat newspaper also carried a 2012 photograph of him holding a placard outside a post office saying: "Tax the rich."

Mr Sanders strongly condemned the shooting, saying: "I am sickened by this despicable act. Let me be as clear as I can be. Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society."

Hodgkinson was listed as the owner of a home inspection business, according to the Washington Post, although his business licence expired last year.

Online records show he faced charges of battery and aiding damage to a motor vehicle in St Clair County, Illinois, in April 2006, but the charges were dismissed, the Post reports.

No motive has been given for the attack.

Rep Brooks said the Republican baseball team was well known in the area and their practices were "no secret". The attacker was "going after elected officials", he said.

James T Hodgkinson: What we know

Who was present, and who was shot?

Representative Scalise, 51, from the state of Louisiana, is the third-highest ranking Republican in the House, and as whip has the task of keeping order in the party and making sure representatives come to vote. He is currently in a stable condition in hospital.

Up to 25 other lawmakers were at the game with their staff, among them: former presidential hopeful Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, Senator Mike Lee of Utah and Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona; Representatives Chuck Fleischmann of Tennessee, Ron DeSantis of Florida, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Brad Wenstrup of Ohio, Mike Bishop of Michigan, Jeff Duncan of South Carolina; and Representatives Joe Barton, Kevin Brady, Mike Conaway and Roger Williams, all of Texas. None are thought to have been injured.

Rep Scalise has a security detail, members of which engaged with the attacker. Two of them were shot. Senator Flake described how one of them had returned fire despite a leg wound - and might have brought down the attacker.

Rep Williams said one of his staffers was wounded. The staffer, named as Zack Barth, later said he was in hospital but okay.

The fifth person wounded was Matthew Mika, a lobbyist and former staffer for two former Republican representatives. His employer, Arkansas-based Tyson Foods, confirmed he was in hospital and said it was awaiting news of his condition.

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