Network newscasts hastily made plans to originate from Washington, D.C. on Wednesday in response to the shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise during a baseball practice in Alexandria, Va.
Scott Pelley will anchor the “CBS Evening News” from Washington tonight and the program will expand to an hour to accommodate coverage of the shooting that left five people wounded and sent Scalise to the hospital for surgery after being shot in the hip. He was in critical condition but the wound was not life-threatening, officials said.
The gunman, identified in published reports as James T. Hodgkinson III, 66, of Illinois, died after a shootout with police that left two officers wounded.
The shooting took place as Scalise and other lawmakers were practicing for a charity baseball game between Republican and Democratic lawmakers set for Thursday evening at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. At a news conference held a few hours after the shooting, the coaches of the Democratic and Republican teams — Rep. Mike Doyle and Rep. Joe Barton — said the game would proceed as scheduled in a demonstration of bipartisanship. CBS News said its CBSN streaming service planned to carry the game live.
The Congressional Baseball Game has been held since 1909 to raise money for various local charities, including the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington, the Washington Literacy Center and the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation. Organizers said a charitable organization that aids fallen law enforcement officials would be added as a beneficiary in the wake of the shooting.
The violence that injured Scalise, a Republican from Louisiana, and others is the latest disturbing example of the extremely polarized political and cultural environment since Donald Trump won the White House. Early reports indicated that the shooter had published angry anti-Trump rhetoric on his Facebook page.