Rep. Tom Rice speaks about Congressional shooting

Rep. Tom Rice speaks about Congressional shooting
Scene of the Congressional baseball practice shooting (Source: AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Scene of the Congressional baseball practice shooting (Source: AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC  (WMBF) - After a gunman opened fire on a Congressional baseball practice Wednesday morning, Rep. Tom Rice spoke with WMBF News, condemning the act of violence.

Rice was uninjured in the attack, as he and his staff were in a meeting when it occurred. "Everybody's fine, everybody's shaken obviously, these acts of violence happen far too often and these occur occasionally up here in Washington," he said.

President Donald Trump announced in a news conference that the shooter, identified as 66-year-old James Hodgkinson from Belleville, Illinois,  has died from his injuries sustained during gunfire with Capitol Police. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was one of the victims, and he is now out of surgery and in stable condition. Others injured include Capitol Police officers Krystal Griner and David Bailey, and Matt Mika, a lobbyist for Tyson Foods.

Rice described Scalise as a "good friend," and said he did text him, but chose to keep the message private.

As for the Capitol Police, Rice says they work tirelessly to keep everyone in Washington safe.

"Of course it's difficult when there are these horrific acts of violence around you, this isn't the first time it has happened since I've been here. It can be somewhat of a violent place. This is a hub of a lot of activity, it attracts a lot of interest, and sometimes it attracts the interest of some people who aren't necessarily all together stable…….the Capitol Police are doing a great job just staying secure, and we've had pretty consistent notices from the Capitol Police. It's not every day, but maybe two or three times a week about a suspicious this or that, so they do a great job of doing what they can to keep the area secure and keeping people out of harm's way."

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who was on the field as shots rang out, said the Capitol Police's presence prevented the situation from being any worse. "Had they not been there it would have been a massacre," Paul said to MSNBC. "Because there's no escaping a guy, you know, if he's got several hundred bullets and we had no weapons and no place to hide."

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is now leading the investigation because members of Congress were involved. At this time, it is not clear if Republican lawmakers were specially targeted, if the incident was domestic terrorism, or if there was any other motive behind the shooting.

WMBF News is working to learn more information about this developing story.

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