Man who shot congressman was living in van, called a loner

Scalise was hit, and crawled out of the infield, leaving a trail of blood, colleagues said.

Scalise remained in critical condition early Thursday morning, according to officials at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, the Washington Post reported.

Authorities believe the 66-year-old had been living out of a van in northern Virginia since March after leaving his southern IL home.

"Every issue that we were working on, he was not in support of", Representative Mike Bost of IL, the Republican lawmaker who represented Hodgkins' district, said, adding that while he was always angry about the GOP agenda, he never crossed the line. "Their sacrifice makes democracy possible". President Trump visited Scalise in the hospital on Wednesday, calling him a "fighter".

The gunman's brother told The New York Times that the man was upset about Trump's election and recently went to Washington to protest, but Michael Hodgkinson said he didn't know why the man stayed in the area.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi lashed out angrily at such comments. "An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us", Ryan said, to prolonged applause.

As the House returned to business, lawmakers sought some semblance of normalcy even as they offered prayers for the wounded and echoed the president in pledges of unity. Bernie Sanders, who a year ago made an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Scalise, 51, the No. 3 House Republican leader, was first elected in 2008.

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Vermont's sole congressmen Peter Welch says he was shocked and tweeted, "Thinking of my friend Steve Scalise, Capitol Police, staff and families". A former congressional aide was hospitalized. He said he was preparing to leave the baseball field when a man politely asked him whether it was a Democratic or Republican team before quietly walking off. The popular annual GOP-Democrats baseball face-off, which raises money for charity, will go forward as planned Thursday evening and a big crowd is expected. Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Tim Slater said the Federal Bureau of Investigation needs the public's help in piecing together Hodgkinson's whereabouts and activities while he was in Alexandria.

The former mayor of Alexandria, Bill Euille, told the Post he had spent the last month and a half talking to Hodgkinson almost every morning.

On Facebook, Hodgkinson was a member of a group called "Terminate the Republican Party", a fact that seemed to take on chilling new meaning in light of an account from South Carolina Rep. Jeff Duncan. President Donald Trump later said Hodgkinson died of the injuries he sustained during the shooting. "We started giving him the liquids, I put pressure on his wound in his hip", Brooks said.

Sanders said Wednesday that he had been informed that "the alleged shooter at the Republican baseball practice is someone who apparently volunteered on my presidential campaign".

Hodgkinson, who reportedly opened fire with an automatic weapon, was shot in return fire by Capitol Police officers who were at the practice for Thursday's game against the Democrats.

While top lawmakers, including Scalise, have security details, others do not and they regularly appear in public without protection.

"You've got to be kidding me", Orear said when told by phone about it. Texas Rep. Mike Conaway described what sounded like an explosion, then lawmakers scattering off the field as police roamed in search of the gunman and engaged him. "And then they went from there to their auto and then five minutes later and the shooter opened up". The man thanked him. Officer Griner U.S. Capitol Police Officer Crystal Griner was shot in the ankle but is in good condition, according to U.S. Capitol Police Chief Matthew Verderosa. Also wounded was former congressional aide Matt Mika, who now works for Tyson Foods in its Washington office. The event raised questions about the security of members of Congress. He was squeezing off five or six rounds at a time and, according to the report, fired about 50 shots in all.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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