Paul Ryan turns shooting into a call for unity

The shooting occurred at a popular park and baseball complex in Alexandria, Virginia, where Republican lawmakers and others were gathered for a morning practice about 7 a.m.

A rifle-wielding attacker opened fire on Republican lawmakers at a congressional baseball practice Wednesday, wounding House GOP Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana and several others as congressmen and aides dove for cover.

"We are united", Ryan said to a standing ovation. Because we are. I ask each of you to join me in resolving to come lift each other up...and to show the country-show the world-that we are one House.

Members who were at the practice when the shooting happened emotionally recounted the dramatic scene.

Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz, said the meeting had produced a "clear consensus that the tonality of our public discourse has deteriorated, and that it's incumbent upon the leadership of the country to try to restore a sense of dignity".

Scalise had been fielding balls at second base when he was shot and then dragged himself away from the infield in a trail of blood. I expressed our profound gratitude to them.

Pelosi says it's "outrageous" and "beneath the dignity" of the House, adding: "How dare they say such a thing, how dare they".

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Separately, Republicans also met behind closed doors before leaving Washington for the week. The hospital treating some of the victims released a statement that said Scalise was still in critical condition. Barton said his son, Jack, got under an SUV.

"You have your constituents, we have ours, and we respect you and your constituents who sent you here", House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said.

Moore also said she'll continue to work with local law enforcement when she feels it's necessary.

The atmosphere was unusually tense, as lawmakers who had witnessed the attack described a chaotic shootout between the gunman and members of Scalise's security detail.

"Without the Capitol Hill police it would have been a massacre", Sen. Lawmakers, staff members and even the young son of one of the members ran for cover, jumping into dugouts and over fences to avoid the gunshots. A woman walked up to a U.S. Capitol Police officer and gave him an extended hug.

"You've had a series of things that send signals that it's OK to hate Trump, it's OK to think of Trump in violent terms, it's OK to consider assassinating Trump", said Newt Gingrich, the former Republican speaker of the House and informal Trump adviser, during an interview on Fox News. "We've got to stop this rhetoric, we've got to stop the hate and today's the day that has to be America's breaking point where Republicans and Democrats come together and say enough is enough".

  • Regina Walsh