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N.D., Minn. leaders respond to ballpark shooting wounding GOP leader

U.S. Capitol Police keep watch on Capitol Hill following a shooting in nearby Alexandria, in Washington, U.S., June 14. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

Members of Congress from North Dakota and Minnesota responded to the shooting that left five people injured and the shooter dead at a baseball field in Alexandria, Va., Wednesday.

National media reports say that shortly after 7 a.m. Wednesday, a lone gunman exchanged gunfire with law enforcement and wounded House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., in the hip. Scalise was reported to have undergone surgery and was in critical condition Wednesday afternoon.

The gunman has been identified as James T. Hodgkinson of Belleville, Ill. His death was announced later by President Donald Trump.

Here's how leaders in North Dakota and Minnesota are responding:

Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., was not present at the practice. He issued a statement calling the shooter "a spineless coward" and referring to Capitol Police as "heroic."

"Kris and I are praying for our friend Steve Scalise, his staff, Capitol Police and their families," the statement said. "Events like this cause reflection and renew a commitment to unity among our colleagues."

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., called it a "sad day," and offered prayers and thoughts to those present at the shooting.

"An attack on a member of Congress or any American is an attack on all of us," she said in a statement. "We now need to let law enforcement continue to do their jobs and get all the facts of what happened. The actions this morning reinforce what many of us in Congress already know: Capitol Police officers are heroes. They put themselves in harm's way every day and run to the sound of the gun."

John Hoeven, R-N.D., offered similar remarks. He also was not at the practice.

"Our thoughts are with House Whip Steve Scalise, our Capitol Police officers and congressional aides who were injured in today's shooting while practicing for a charity baseball game," he said in a statement. "Today, we are especially grateful to our law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line to keep us safe. Our prayers are with all those injured."

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., responded on Twitter: "Horrified by shooting in Alexandria," he wrote. "My thoughts are with @SteveScalise, my colleagues, staff members, and police who were attacked this AM."

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., also responded on social media: "Prayers for Rep. Scalise, aides, law enforcement, and all those who were hurt," she tweeted. "No words to describe how terrible this is."

Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., responded with a statement emailed from his office.

"My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families of the shooting at baseball practice this morning," he said. "This was a horrific act and I commend Capitol Police for their bravery and efforts which likely saved many lives.I joined my colleagues today on the House floor as a sign that we are Americans first."

Sam Easter

Sam Easter is a City Government reporter for the Grand Forks Herald. You can reach him with story tips, comments and ideas at 701-330-3441.

(701) 780-1108
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