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United States Congressman Steve Scalise shot in Virginia, suspect arrested

A senior United States' Congressman Steve Scalise was shot at a baseball practice ahead of an annual game between lawmakers in a Washington suburb on Wednesday. At least five others were injured before the shooter was taken down, reports ANI.

The shooting was reported on East Monroe Street and Alexandria Police tweeted that the gunman was in custody. The gunman used a semi-automatic rifle from behind the dugout of the field, according to a report in Metro. Victims are being transported to nearby hospitals and the suspect has been arrested, police said.

Fellow Republican lawmaker Mo Brooks said that Scalise was shot in the hip, adding that at least two law enforcement officers and one congressional staffer were also shot. Scalise was seen, by another congressman, dragging himself across the field to try and escape the shooter. White House press secretary Sean Spicer said that both President Donald Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence have been apprised of the situation.

Trump tweeted that Scalise was badly injured but will fully recover.

Scalise is in a stable condition, his office said. "Prior to entering surgery, (Scalise) was in good spirits and spoke to his wife by phone," it added.

In a statement earlier, Trump described himself as "deeply saddened by this tragedy," saying his "thoughts and prayers are with the members of Congress, their staffs, Capitol Police, first responders and all others affected."

About 25 senators and congressmen were at the practice, according to Senator Jeff Flake who told reporters some 50 shots rang out in the exchange of fire between the gunman and the lawmakers' security detail.

Flake said the suspect was a white man with dark hair, apparently in his 40s or 50s, wearing jeans and a blue shirt. Asked whether he thought it was a random shooting, Brooks said, "It sure as heck wasn't an accident."

"People know this is the Republican baseball team practicing," he said. "You can tell. You can recognise many of us. You can see our security detail."

"It is pretty well known at the neighborhood who those folks are on the baseball field and where we practice. He knew who we were. I'm a former prosecutor and, yeah, he was going after elected officials, congressmen."

Brooks said he took off his belt and used it as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding on a staffer who was shot in the leg.

Local schools were locked down.

"A lock-in takes place if a threat is identified outside the school. All school doors are locked but classes continue as normal. No entry into or exit from the school will be allowed," said a message from Alexandria City Public Schools.

Scalise, a representative from the southern state of Louisiana elected to Congress in 2008, heads the conservative House caucus known as the Republican Study Committee.

The staunch conservative is among the lawmakers leaving the drive to repeal former president Barack Obama's signature health care law, among other top Republican priorities.

With inputs from AFP

Updated Date: Jun 14, 2017 19:47 PM

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