In the U.S., authorities have identified the gunman who shot at Republican Party Congressmen. A top Republican lawmaker is in critical condition, with four others wounded from gunfire.
The attack took place at a baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia- a city just 20 minutes away from the White House.
CGTN’s Jessica Stone reports.
An early morning baseball game practice turned bloody Wednesday, when a gunman opened fire at a park outside Washington DC. Republican lawmakers were gathered to prepare for a charity baseball game against members of the Democratic Party.
An eyewitness said he saw the gunman as he was leaving the gym.
“I saw him crouched behind a wooden structure, and he had an AK-47 type weapon,” Owen Britton, an eyewitness said. “He was exchanging fire with someone who was behind a black SUV.”
The House Majority Whip, Steve Scalise was hit in the hip while manning second base. He dragged himself out of the line of fire, leaving a trail of blood behind. He was operated on at an area hospital and is listed in critical condition.
Scalise, as a leader in Congress, has security detail assigned to him at all times—guaranteeing that armed police were on the scene. U.S President Donald Trump said those officers saved lives.
“Many lives would’ve been lost if not for the two Capitol Hill police officers who took down the gunman, despite sustaining gunshot wounds during a very, very brutal assault,” President Trump said.
A total of five people were struck in the shooting, including the gunman, now identified as 66-year-old James Hodgkinson from the state of Illinois. He ultimately died of his injuries. He ran a home inspection business and had been previously arrested for physical assault.
FBI investigators said they are now examining the possibility that the motive for the shooting was political. Witnesses said the shooter asked which political party the players belonged to before opening fire.
“He had approached the back stop the back behind home plate and asked a staff member or one of the participants if it was the Republican team or Democrat team that was practicing,” David Woodruff who was near the scene of the attack said. “[He] was told it was the Republican team and very calmly opened up a bag of some sort and pulled out a long rifle and began shooting at that point.”
Hodgkinson also had extensive political posts on his Facebook page. He was a member of “Terminate the Republican Party” and had previously criticized Trump, calling him a traitor, and advocating the destruction of “Trump and Co.”
The charity baseball game is expected to go on Thursday as planned.