WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) – The actions of a lone gunman at an Arlington, Virginia baseball field prompted a rare thing on Capitol Hill – unity – at least for a day.
“We are united in our shock we are united in our anguish. An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us,” Speaker of the House Paul Ryan told his colleagues during an address from the floor.
“My prayer is we can resolve our differences in a way that furthers the preamble to the constitution takes us closer to E pluribus Unum,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. “It’s an injury in the family for our staff, our colleague, and his leadership.”
“It was a heinous attack. Let’s come together in bipartisanship, and right here is an example of coming together, recognizing there is a technical problem, coming together to fix that problem. Let’s do this in the spirit of what Americans do, that we are Americans first,” said Florida’s Sen. Bill Nelson on the Senate floor on Thursday during his remarks.
Republicans and Democrats alike were shocked and saddened to learn that House Minority Whip Steve Scalise and several others were shot Wednesday morning while practicing for a charity baseball game.
Louisiana Congressman Scalise, who was shot in the hip, remains hospitalized in critical condition.
President Donald Trump visited Scalise in the hospital, afterward tweeting in part: “…Representative Scalise…is in very tough shape – but he is a real fighter!”
Witnesses said a man identified as 66-year-old James Hodgkinson of Southern Illinois emerged from behind the third base dugout with an M4 assault rifle and began shooting. He was shot and killed by officers but not before wounding five people.
Two Capitol Police Special agents were at the practice as part of Scalise’s security detail and are being hailed as heroes for taking down the suspect. One officer was shot in the ankle and is recovering. The other officer received a minor injury and was released from the hospital.
As they try to figure out a motive, federal investigators are reviewing Hodgkinson’s online activity. He repeatedly took to Facebook to post anti-Trump rhetoric.
Hodgkinson also wrote several letters to his local newspaper railing against Republicans for what he says were policies that too often favored the rich.
Representative Mike Bost, who serves the district Hodgkinson was from, said his office received several calls and emails from the shooter in the past. The Illinois representative said in hindsight, at least one of which raised a red flag.
“It was not threatening, ‘if you vote this way we’ll remember you’ if you’re a political activist that means you’re going to work harder against me next time, you don’t take that as a physical threat,” said Bost.
The annual Democrats versus Republicans baseball game will go on as planned this evening at National’s Park in Washington D.C. The White House said President Trump would like to attend the baseball game today but he won’t be able to because there’s not enough time to follow secret service protocols.