House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana was fielding balls on second base during a congressional baseball practice when he was shot in the hip Wednesday morning in Alexandria, Virginia.
He crawled into the outfield, leaving a trail of blood that was “10 to 15 yards long,” said Rep. Mo Brooks, an Alabama Republican. His wounds were not believed to be life-threatening.
The shooting took place about 7 a.m. at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park, a popular park and baseball complex where lawmakers and others were gathered for a morning practice. The team was taking batting practice when gunfire rang out and chaos erupted, lawmakers on the scene said.
Five others were also wounded. The gunman was shot by police and died, President Donald Trump confirmed.
Scalise’s office said the congressman was in surgery and in stable condition at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. “The whip was in good spirits and spoke to his wife by phone,” the statement read.
Scalise is the No. 3 House Republican leader. He was first elected to the House in 2008 after serving 12 years in the state legislature. He quickly moved up the ranks and won the post of majority whip that opened up following Eric Cantor’s primary defeat in 2014.
The 51-year-old is a member of the energy and commerce committee and formerly served as chairman for the Republican study committee, the conservative House caucus.
A self-described “strong supporter of the Second Amendment,” Scalise has an A+ rating from the National Rifle Association, according to his congressional website.
Scalise sponsored or co-sponsored bills to require that states recognize each other’s gun permits, and to allow for the interstate sale of firearms through the Firearms Interstate Commerce Reform Act, his website says. Another bill would lift some restrictions on firearm possession in the District of Columbia.
“A member of the Congressional Second Amendment Task Force, Congressman Steve Scalise will continue fighting to protect every citizen's Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms,” his website says.
Scalise is a strong proponent of rolling back government regulations, particularly under the Environmental Protection Agency, which he has called “the biggest impediment to job growth in America.” He voted in favor of the controversial Keystone pipeline, is one of Washington's staunchest defenders of offshore drilling and has called for expanding hydraulic fracking in the U.S.
He was critical of the Obama administration’s green-energy policies, arguing in a 2015 op-ed that they would increase costs for middle-class families and accusing the former president of waging a war on coal by "imposing radical regulations."
“Instead of helping Americans compete on the global stage and benefit from our incredible energy resources, the president and his allies are doing the exact opposite, blocking enormous opportunities and trying to force their own radical agenda on the rest of us,” he wrote in joint op-ed with Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, published in The Dallas Morning News.
Scalise has long championed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare." More recently, he played a critical role in convincing reluctant conservatives to vote in favor of the GOP's healthcare law, the American Health Care Act.
Scalise came under criticism in 2014 after acknowledging he addressed a gathering of white supremacists and neo-Nazis at a 2002 convention of the European-American Unity and Rights Organization, NBC News reported. EURO was founded by David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan leader. Scalise was serving as a Louisiana state representative at the time.
Scalise told the New Orleans Times-Picayune he didn’t recall the conference and "didn’t know who all of these groups were ... For anyone to suggest I was involved with a group like that is insulting and ludicrous." Scalise did apologize for his speech, saying "It was a mistake I regret, and I emphatically oppose the divisive racial and religious views groups like these hold."
Scalise is a graduate of Louisiana State University where he received a bachelor’s degree in computer science in 1989 with a minor in political science. The father of two worked as a systems engineer before serving in public office.