WASHINGTON U.S. Representative Steve Scalise’s condition has improved but remained critical on Thursday, a day after a man who had expressed anger toward President Donald Trump opened fire on Republican lawmakers at a baseball practice.
Trump on Thursday reiterated his call for unity in the aftermath of the shooting in the Washington suburb of Alexandria, Virginia. But Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in the House of Representatives, criticized some Republicans who have blamed the shooting on vitriol from the political left.
Scalise, a congressman from Louisiana who is the No. 3 House Republican, suffered injuries to internal organs, broken bones and severe bleeding after being shot in the left hip on a baseball field where he and other lawmakers were practicing for a charity baseball game.
Scalise underwent a second surgery for internal injuries and a broken leg – his third procedure overall – and remained in critical condition but had shown improvement, MedStar Washington Hospital Center said in a statement on Thursday.
Scalise, 51, and three others were wounded when a man identified as James Hodgkinson, 66, from the St. Louis suburb of Belleville, Illinois, opened fire on the lawmakers. The others wounded were a police officer, a congressional aide and a lobbyist.
Hodgkinson, who had a history of posting angry messages against Trump and other Republicans on social media, died after being wounded by police.
The U.S. Capitol Police said Hodgkinson used a 9 mm handgun and a 7.62-caliber rifle in the shooting, and traces run by investigators showed he evidently acquired the weapons legally.
“Both were purchased by the shooter from federal firearms licensees,” the Capitol Police said in a statement. “We currently have no evidence to suggest that the purchases were not lawful.”
The FBI recovered a cellphone, computer and camera from Hodgkinson’s van and was examining them for evidence, the statement said.
Trump, who visited Scalise at the hospital on Wednesday, said the congressman was “in some trouble but he’s going to be okay, we hope.”
“It’s been much more difficult than people even thought at the time,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Thursday, adding he also visited the wounded Capitol Police officer at the hospital.
Vice President Mike Pence earlier on Thursday said he visited the hospital where Scalise was being treated.
Republican members of Congress played their Democratic colleagues in a charity game on Thursday night at Nationals Park, home of the Washington Nationals Major League Baseball team, with thousands of spectators attending.
The lawmakers took the field with many wearing hats to honor Scalise. When the members of the Republican team were announced, mention of Scalise’s name drew a standing ovation throughout the stadium.
The shooting has raised questions about lawmakers’ security,…