US congressman Steve Scalise still critical after Washington shooting

Bullet travelled across pelvis, fracturing bones, injuring organs and causing bleeding

Witnesses describe the scene of the shooting that injured US congressman Steve Scalise and others during early-morning baseball practice this week in Virginia. Video: New York Times

 

Steve Scalise, the Republican congressman who was shot by a gunman during early-morning baseball practice on Wednesday, remains in a critical condition in hospital, as the investigation continues into the attack that left five people injured.

Mr Scalise underwent a third bout of surgery on Thursday, 24 hours after he was wounded in a shooting involving lone gunman James Hodgkinson.

While President Donald Trump visited the MedStar Washington Hospital Center where Mr Scalise is being treated, he did not speak directly to the Louisiana congressman. Vice-president Mike Pence also visited the hospital.

In a statement, the hospital said Mr Scalise had “sustained a single rifle shot to the left hip. The bullet travelled across his pelvis, fracturing bones, injuring internal organs, and caused severe bleeding”.

He underwent immediate surgery and an additional procedure to stop bleeding, the statement said, and had received “multiple units of blood transfusion”.

The Republican congressional baseball team had been practising for Thursday’s annual charity game between Democrats and Republicans when the gunman attacked shortly after 7am. The game was due to go ahead as planned on Thursday evening.

Security concerns

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said that the president would not attend because of security concerns. “While the president would like to attend the game and show his support for all of these brave public servants, he has been advised that there is not enough time to follow Secret Service protocols,” he said.

James Hodgkinson, who has been identified as the shooter of Steve Scalise, protests outside of the United States Post Office in Belleville, Illinois, in this April 2012 image. File photograph: Derik Holtmann/Belleville News-Democrat, via AP
James Hodgkinson, who has been identified as the shooter of Steve Scalise, protests outside of the United States Post Office in Belleville, Illinois, in this April 2012 image. File photograph: Derik Holtmann/Belleville News-Democrat, via AP

An FBI-led investigation into Hodgkinson (66) was continuing on Thursday.

Hodgkinson, from Illinois, died in hospital of gunshot wounds sustained in a gun battle with Capitol Hill police.

It has emerged that Hodgkinson had been staying in the Alexandria area since March, where he had been living out of a white van. He had regularly attended the YCMA club across from the baseball pitch where the congressmen practised.

The incident has renewed debate about gun ownership in the United States and security protection for members of Congress.

Several of those who witnessed the attack said they would not have been able to defend themselves if the two Capitol Police officers, who had been assigned to Mr Scalise because of his rank, had not been present.  

Chris Collins, a Republican representative from New York, said he would carry his gun in future.

Forced to apologise

“Certainly in the short term I’m going to go a step beyond just having it in the glove box in my car,” he said. Mr Collins was forced to apologise for comments he made in the immediate aftermath of the shooting when he suggested that Democratic opposition to Mr Trump had gone too far.

The shock attack has united Congress, with House Speaker Paul Ryan telling the chamber: “An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.”