At least four people were injured on Wednesday morning when a gunman opened fire at a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, VA. Among those who were shot were House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, a prominent Louisiana Republican, and his aides. Donald Trump released a brief statement on Twitter, saying that Scalise “was badly injured but will fully recover.” After the shooting, the FBI began taking questions about the nature of the attack. Was the Alexandra baseball shooting an act of terrorism? The FBI said in a statement that it is currently working on all possible angles, and that it is too early to confirm the shooter's motivations.
A Fox News reporter tweeted an allegation that a man had asked Ron DeSantis, a Florida congressman, whether the politicians on the field were Republicans or Democrats shortly before the shooting. However, neither the FBI nor the Alexandria Police Department have confirmed this report. The FBI also added that it is too early to tell whether the shooting constituted an assassination attempt, according to The Telegraph.
The suspect was killed by police, and federal law enforcement officials told NBC News that the suspect was a man in his 60s from Belleville, Illinois. At this time, however, it is important not to speculate about the shooter's intentions.
Because members of Congress were involved in the shooting, the FBI has officially taken a lead on this case. Special Agent Tim Slater, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, Capitol Police Chief Matthew Verderosa, and local Alexandria police held a joint press conference near the scene of the shooting, but none of them confirmed details about the ongoing investigation.
Rep. Rodney Davis, a Republican congressman from Illinois who survived the shooting, was one of the first to use the word "terrorism" to describe the attack. He said the shooting could potentially be attributed to increasing partisanship and division between Republicans and Democrats.
"This could be the first political rhetorical terrorist attack, and that has to stop," Davis told CNN. ""Republicans and Democrats need to use this day today to stand together and say stop. Let's work together and get things done. We can have our differences, but let's not let it lead to such hate."
It is important to note that neither federal nor local authorities have confirmed Davis' remarks. Officials have also said that they do not yet know if the attack was politically motivated.
Proud to report that the Congressional Baseball Game is on! We will stand together, Democrats and Republicans, against hatred and violence.— Seth Moulton (@sethmoulton) June 14, 2017
Democrats and Republicans have both been using that baseball field in Alexandria to practice for a bipartisan game on Thursday that will still reportedly take place at the scheduled time. The game aims to honor the victims of the attacks in London and Manchester.