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Staff Member Of U.S. Rep. Roger Williams Shot At Congressional Baseball Practice

Joshua Roberts
A police officer mans a shooting scene after a gunman opened fire on Republican members of Congress during a baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia, on June 14, 2017.

ALEXANDRIA, Virginia — A staffer of U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, who was among those shot at a congressional baseball practice Wednesday morning, is expected to make a full recovery, the Austin Republican said.

The four Texas lawmakers on the Republican team – U.S. Reps Joe BartonKevin BradyMike Conaway and Williams – were at the practice. Conaway, Williams, Barton and Brady are safe.

"Congressman Williams was not shot, however a member of his staff was shot and is receiving medical attention," his office said in a statement shortly after the shooting.

On Twitter, Williams said the staffer, Zack Barth, is doing well and is expected to make a full recovery.

A gunman fired on members of Congress practicing baseball Wednesday morning. U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Louisiana, was among those shot. According to Politico, Scalise is undergoing surgery for a gunshot wound to the hip and is in stable condition. News reports said that in addition to Barth and Scalise, two Capitol Hill police officers were also shot. A Capitol Hill police chief said the officers are in good condition. In a televised address, President Donald Trump said that the shooter, identified by multiple news outlets as James Hodgkinson, 66, of Illinois, died from his injuries in the shooting. 

In a statement, Barton said that shortly after 7 a.m. Eastern time, the gunman began using a high-caliber firearm to shoot at congressional members and staff on the field. Capitol police officers returned fire in an exchange that lasted around 10 minutes.

"The Alexandria Police along with the Capital Police secured a cease-fire, capturing the suspect," Barton said.

At a mid-morning press conference, law enforcement officials said it was too early to comment on a number of aspects of the shooting, including whether the lawmakers were targeted.

Williams, a former minor league baseball player, has coached the GOP Congressional team since 2013, according to his office.

Amid news of the shooting, House members were alerted that that no votes were expected in that chamber Wednesday. Several committee hearings were postponed.

Both U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke briefly on the House floor, recognizing the bravery of the Capitol police and calling for unity.

"We are all imperfect, but we do not shed our humanity when we enter this chamber," Ryan said. "For all the noise and all the fury, we are one family."

"Tomorrow, we’ll go out on the field, we’ll root for our team," Pelosi added, referring to Thursday's scheduled baseball game between Republican and Democratic lawmakers. "We'll want everyone to do his or her very best, and we’ll use this occasion to bring us together and not separate us further.”

Statements from Texas lawmakers on Wednesday expressed prayers for those who were shot and praise for Capitol Hill police for their response.

"We are all Americans, and we must stand together against any attempt to divide us," U.S. Rep. Kay Granger, R- Fort Worth, said in a statement.

U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey of Fort Worth, the lone Texan on the Democrats' congressional baseball team, tweeted his support and prayers after news of the shooting came out.

The shooting drew reactions from several statewide officials, who said they were keeping the victims in their thoughts and prayers. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick issued a statement condemning the shooting, saying, "This hatred and violence has no place in America — it flies in the face of the very democracy our nation is rooted in."

The Congressional Baseball Game is the pinnacle event of the summer among Washington and Capitol Hill insiders. For over 100 years, Democrats and Republicans in Congress have played against one another. 

Members from both teams practice for weeks ahead of time, rising before sunrise to hit the diamond around 6:30 a.m. While Republicans practice at a park in Alexandria, Democrats practice closer to the Capitol, at a college in Northeast Washington, D.C.

Thursday's game will be held at Nationals Park, where the Washington Nationals play. 

Patrick Svitek and Kirby Wilson contributed to this report, which was provided by the Texas Tribune.