Steve Scalise, the Republican congressman from Louisiana who serves as House majority whip, was shot during an early-morning baseball practice in Virginia on Wednesday.
The 51-year-old legislator was first elected to Congress in 2008 after serving as a member of the Louisiana state legislator for more than decade.
As the No. 3 House Republican or majority whip, a position he’s held for about three years, Scalise has solidified his role in in the House GOP leadership and his position gives him authority over vote counting in the Republican conference, where he is tasked with wrangling votes on pieces of legislation. To help him do this, Scalise oversees a team of deputies.
Scalise also serves as leader to the conservative Republican Study Committee and played a big part in getting the American Health Care Act through the House into the Senate.
Following the shooting Presdient Donald Trump tweeted that Scalise was a “true friend and patriot.”
Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, a true friend and patriot, was badly injured but will fully recover. Our thoughts and prayers are with him.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 14, 2017
Scalise’s district, which occupies much of the “toe” Louisiana’s boot, has long been served by Republicans and is considered one of the reddest districts in the country. It includes parts of New Orleans suburbs. Scalise has easily retained his seat, suggesting he is popular among his constituents. In November he was re-elected, earning 75 percent of the vote.
Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks told CNN that Scalise was among those shot during Wednesday. Congressmen were practicing for the annual Congressional baseball game, which is scheduled for Thursday.
Scalise has played on the GOP baseball team for four years and was known for his skill on the field. A 2015 New York Times article noted, “At shortstop, Mr. Scalise is easily the G.O.P.’s best offensive player.”
Scalise was on the field, playing second base, when the gunman opened fire. “I hear another bam and I realize there is an active shooter,” Brooks said. “At the same time, I hear Steve Scalise, over near second base, scream. He was shot.”
In a mid-morning press conference, Alexandria Police Chief Michael Brown said five people wrere transported to local hopsitals from the scene, though he would not say whether one of the victims was the shooter. All are in stable condition.
It was Scalise’s security detail that likely brought the shooting to a quick end. As the only member of House leadership present, Scalise was the only congressman with a security detail in tow.
U.S. Capitol Police Chief Matthew R. Verderosa called the security officers “heroes” for chasing after the shooter, who reportedly was using a semi-automatic weapon, while armed only with pistols.