House members expressed sorrow and outrage over a politically motivated shooting that critically injured a congressional leader, injured three other people and left the gunman dead at a baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia, where Republican lawmakers were gathered for a practice game.

“My thoughts and prayers are with my colleague Rep. Steve Scalise and the other victims of this morning’s horrible shooting,” said Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Corona on Wednesday.

“Any attack on members of Congress is an attack on our democracy. The United States Congress is the finest legislative body in the world, and its members will not be intimidated or cower in the face of threats of violence.”

Rep. Raul Ruiz, D-Palm Desert, posted a Facebook message saying that he was “lamenting the terrible news about this shooting.”

“We prayed as a team for Majority Whip Steve Scalise, Capitol police and staff that were shot,” Ruiz said.

The alleged assailant, 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson, was killed in a shootout with officers, one of whom was wounded, along with a congressional aide and a lobbyist.

Scalise, R-Louisiana, was shot in a hip and is listed in critical condition. He was on the field to practice for a charity game between Republican and Democratic lawmakers scheduled Thursday.

Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-South Carolina, said he encountered a man in the parking lot near the field, later identified as the gunman, who “asked me if the team practicing was a Democrat or Republican team.

“I told him they were Republicans,” Duncan said. “He said. ‘OK, thanks,’ turned around.”

Hodgkinson opened fire with a semiautomatic rifle, unleashing multiple rounds before he was engaged by police officers and fatally wounded, according to published reports.

Hodgkinson was a volunteer for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. Sanders condemned the attack on the floor of the Senate, saying he was “sickened” by what transpired.

Calvert said it is one thing to criticize lawmakers, but “committing acts of violence against elected officials is never acceptable.

“Let us take pause and remember that we are all united by our love for this country and all of the values that it stands for,” he said.

–City News Service

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