Baseball game back on after shooting

  • 16/06/2017
Crime scene tape surrounds the Eugene Simpson Field
Crime scene tape surrounds the Eugene Simpson Field. Photo credit: Getty

US lawmakers have returned to regular business ready to play their annual charity baseball game a day after a man angry at President Donald Trump fired on Republican legislators, leaving a senior congressman in critical condition.

Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday visited the Washington hospital where Steve Scalise, the third-ranked Republican in the US House of Representatives, was being treated for injuries to internal organs, broken bones and severe bleeding after being shot in the left hip.

Mr Scalise, 51, and three others were wounded when a man identified as James Hodgkinson, 66, from the St Louis suburb of Belleville, Illinois opened fire in Alexandria, Virginia, on Republican lawmakers practising for the charity game.

The others wounded were a police officer, a congressional aide and a lobbyist.

The charity game, pitting Republican lawmakers against their Democratic colleagues, was set to proceed as scheduled at 7:05pm on Thursday at Nationals Park, home of the Washington Nationals Major League Baseball team, with thousands of spectators expected in the stands.

Representatives for MedStar Washington Hospital Center and Mr Scalise offered no updates on his condition on Thursday morning.

Mr Trump, after visiting the Louisiana Republican at the hospital, on Wednesday said Mr Scalise was "in very tough shape - but he is a real fighter".

The gunman died after being wounded in a gunfight with police. He had a history of posting angry messages against Mr Trump and other Republicans on social media.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating the attack, which has raised questions about lawmakers' security, renewed the nation's contentious debate over guns and drawn fresh attention to the harsh rhetoric that reflects the deep political divisions in the US.

"Civility is indeed a part of civilised government and an open political system, and if you let these forces play out you end up in a very bad spot. And I think what happened yesterday was symptomatic of it," Republican Representative Mark Sanford told MSNBC on Thursday.

After the shooting, Republicans at the practice returned to the US Capitol clad in practice uniforms and described a chaotic scene dodging a hail of bullets. The House and Senate got back to normal business on Thursday.

Mr Trump called for unity in remarks at the White House on Wednesday, but Sanford and other Republican lawmakers also pointed to the President's own harsh rhetoric.

"I would like to see the President stay off of Twitter," Republican Senator John Thune told MSNBC, adding that lawmakers had to do their part to tone down comments and work with the opposing party.