Thursday Update: Top GOP lawmaker “in very tough shape”

Majority Whip Steve Scalise in critical condition, multiple surgeries needed; full update on four other victims

Joshua Roberts—Reuters
Police make way for an ambulance after a gunman opened fire on Republican members of Congress during a baseball practice near Washington in Alexandria

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman Steve Scalise (R-La.), the No. 3 Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, is still in critical condition after he and three others were shot as they practiced for a charity baseball game early Wednesday morning.The gunman, who had posted angry messages against President Donald Trump and other Republicans on social media, opened fire on a group of Republican lawmakers, staff and children at a baseball field in Alexandria, Va., outside Washington. He was wounded in a gunfight with Capitol Hill police at the scene and later died.Scalise was shot in the left hip. The bullet traveled across his pelvis, breaking bones, injuring internal organs and causing severe bleeding, the MedStar Washington Hospital Center said.He underwent a major surgery and an additional procedure to stop bleeding on Wednesday. The congressman has received “multiple units of blood transfusion” and the hospital anticipates that he will need further operations.”Rep. Steve Scalise, one of the truly great people, is in very tough shape – but he is a real fighter. Pray for Steve!” Trump said on Twitter after visiting the hospital on Wednesday night with first lady Melania Trump. Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, visited the victims at the hospital on Thursday morning, posting a photo with doctors to Twitter.The gunman, identified by police as 66-year-old James Hodgkinson from the St. Louis suburb of Belleville, Illinois, fired repeatedly at the men playing on the baseball field from behind a chain link fence along the third base line. Scalise, who played second base, was reportedly one of the first men hit.When Scalise was shot, he went down on the infield between first and second base, then dragged himself into the grassy outfield as the incident unfolded, leaving a trail of blood, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) told CNN.ZACH BARTH: SHOT IN THE LEG, RELEASED FROM HOSPITAL Zach Barth, a congressional aide injured in the attack, was in center field behind Scalise when shots rang out.”I heard a loud crack, and everybody stopped. Time stood still,” Barth told CNN in a televised interview from Capitol Hill on Thursday with his boss Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas). “Then I heard more cracks, saw the shooter with a long gun on the third base line, and someone said run — so that’s what I did.”Barth explained that he sprinted toward right field, attempting to put distance between him and the shooter, but a fence prevented him from exiting the field.”I made myself the smallest target possible, I laid on the ground, and then I saw him turn his gun toward me,” Barth told in a harrowing account. “He started firing, everything around me started to pop. I felt a sharp, burning pain in my leg — I looked down, I had been hit.”Adrenaline was pumping through me, and my fight-or-flight reflex kicked in,” Barth continued. “I decided if I wanted to live, I needed to get better cover, so I sprinted down — I literally ran for my life — and jumped into the dugout into Congressman Williams’ arms.”Williams said he and his colleagues created a tourniquet for Barth from Brooks’ belt. Despite being injured, Barth said he was concerned with keeping everyone’s heads down to stay alive, which included Rep. Joe Barton’s 10-year-old son, Jack, who was in the dugout with the men. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said he and others shielded the boy.Barth was treated immediately at a nearby hospital and released Wednesday with minor wounds to his leg. Congressmen at the ballpark described realizing they had only baseball bats to defend themselves against bullets.”When he started shooting, he was shooting to kill people. And thank God he wasn’t a very good shot,” said Barton, the Republican team’s manager.MATT MIKA: SHOT MULTIPLE TIMES, IN CRITICAL CONDITIONMatt Mika, a former aide who now works as a lobbyist for Tyson Foods, was shot multiple times, including in the chest, during in the ambush on Republicans.In a statement, Mika’s family said they were rushing to D.C. on Wednesday to be by his side after being informed by paramedics on the scene that Mika had been shot multiple times and was in critical condition.He underwent emergency surgery on Wednesday and is being treated in the intensive care unit at George Washington University Hospital. Mika, a Michigan native, previously served as a congressional staffer for Reps. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) and Dave Camp (R-Mich.), as well as serving on the staff of a Michigan State representative.”While the attack today was a terrible surprise, Matt’s presence on the ball field, helping longtime colleagues and friends, was not,” his family said in a statement. “He is a very thoughtful, fun-loving person who is competitive and loyal; all things which contributed to his continued commitment to the Congressional Baseball Game.”Tyson Foods also released a statement, saying, “We’re deeply concerned about him and his family. We appreciate the outpouring of support for Matt and please ask that you keep him, his family and everyone affected by this senseless act of violence in your thoughts and prayers.”CRYSTAL GRINER: SHOT IN THE ANKLE, IN HOSPITALCrystal Griner, one of the Capitol Hill police officers, suffered a gunshot wound to her ankle and is being treated at the same hospital as Scalise. Trump and Pence said they met with Griner during their visits to thank her for service.”She is amazing, and she’s a hero,” retired Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine told CBS News about Griner on Thursday. “She epitomized what being a hero’s all about.”DAVID BAILEY: ANKLE INJURY, RELEASED FROM HOSPITALDavid Bailey, the other heroic officer who stepped into action when shots were fired, twisted an ankle and was released from a hospital on crutches, police said. Bailey is a North Carolina Central University graduate.”It was not only chaotic but it was a combat situation,” Alexandria Police Chief Mike Brown told reporters.The two Capitol Police officers, who were there to provide security for Scalise — a member of Republican leadership — engaged the gunman with pistols. Officials, including Trump, credit the officers that morning for keeping the shooter at bay.”But for the Capitol Police and the heroism they showed, it could very well have been a large-scale massacre,” Brooks said. “All we would have had would have been baseball bats versus a rifle. Those aren’t good odds.”SHOOTER’S GUNS OBTAINED LEGALLYThe shooting took place at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, across the Potomac River from Washington.Wednesday’s attack was the first shooting of a member of Congress since January 2011, when Democratic Representative Gabby Giffords was seriously wounded in an assassination attempt at a gathering of constituents in Tucson, Ariz. Six people were killed. Giffords resigned from Congress and became an activist for gun restrictions.On Thursday morning, Giffords wrote an letter published in the Washington Post titled, ‘We need courage to face our gun-safety problem now.’In the afternoon, the U.S. Capitol Police reported that the 9 mm handgun and 7.62 caliber rifle believed to have been used by Hodgkinson in the shooting were obtained legally. “Both were purchased by the shooter from federal firearms licensees. We currently have no evidence to suggest that the purchases were not lawful,” the Capitol Police said in a statement. The FBI has recovered a cell phone, a computer and a camera from the vehicle used by the gunman the statement also said. Ross Colvin and Sarah N. Lynch from Reuters News Service contributed to this article.