WASHINGTON — The day after a man armed with an assault rifle opened fire on Republican lawmakers practicing for a charity baseball game, House GOP Whip Steve Scalise, of Louisiana, remained in the hospital in critical condition.
The congressman underwent a second surgery Thursday that was related to his internal injuries and a broken leg bone, said MedStar Washington Hospital Center officials.
They added that his condition has improved over the last 24 hours.
With Scalise in the hospital, members of Congress had him on their minds as they took to the baseball field for their century-old bipartisan ritual.
Republicans came up short. The Democrats won the game 11-2, but in a show of camaraderie, they gave the trophy to the team manager for the GOP so that it could be put in Scalise’s office.
Meanwhile, the condition of a critically wounded lobbyist for Tyson Foods improved from critical to serious as of Thursday afternoon, according to the hospital treating him.
President Donald Trump, who visited Scalise’s bedside Wednesday evening, said the No. 3 House Republican “continues his very brave fight,” but that “it’s been much more difficult than people even thought at the time. He’s in some trouble.”
Trump gave his remarks at the White House shortly before noon Thursday.
Scalise was shot in the hip Wednesday morning at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park, in Alexandria, Virginia, as some two dozen GOP lawmakers practiced for the Congressional Baseball Game. Scalise underwent immediate surgery after being taken to MedStar Washington.
In a statement released Thursday evening, the hospital said Scalise remained in critical condition.
“The Congressman will require additional operations, and will be in the hospital for some time,” hospital officials said.
The bullet that hit Scalise traveled across his pelvis, fractured bones, injured internal organs and caused severe bleeding, the hospital said.
A statement released by Scalise’s office shortly after the shooting had said the congressman was in good spirits and had spoken to his wife by phone. The hospital said he was in shock at the time.
Matt Mika, a former longtime congressional staffer who now works as director of government relations for Arkansas-based Tyson Foods, was shot multiple times in the chest and arm and “suffered massive trauma,” his family said in a statement Thursday morning.
George Washington University Hospital said Thursday afternoon his condition had improved from critical to serious.
Mika requires assistance to breathe, but has been alert and conscious and communicating through notes, his family said in the statement. He will require additional surgeries.
Special Agent Crystal Griner, with the Capitol Police, was shot in the ankle during an exchange of gunfire with the shooter. She remains in good condition at MedStar hospital.
Another Capitol Police officer, David Bailey, suffered a minor injury during the incident and was treated and released from the hospital.
The Capitol Police officers have been hailed as heroes by the congressmen on the baseball diamond who came under fire and who credit the officers with saving their lives.
Zach Barth, a staffer for Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas, was also shot in the leg and was treated and released from the hospital. Barth was back on his feet Thursday, giving TV interviews about his ordeal.
The FBI said 66-year-old James Hodgkinson, of Belleville, Illinois, opened fire on the lawmakers with an assault rifle. Authorities said Hodgkinson had been living out of his van in the Alexandria area for the past few months and they are seeking more information about his recent whereabouts and contacts.
In statement released Thursday afternoon, the FBI said investigators recovered a 9 mm handgun and a 7.62 caliber rifle from the scene and that trades on the weapons indicate they were purchased legally from federal firearms dealers. The FBI has also recovered and are processing Hodgkinson’s cellphone, a computer and a camera.
Hodgkinson was shot multiple times in the chest during a firefight with police and later died at George Washington University Hospital. He had a history of railing against the Republican party.
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