U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk was among the Republican officials attending a baseball practice session attacked by a gunman on June 14. Five people, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, were wounded, but Loudermilk said on social media that he was uninjured.
“I was on the field, but I’m okay. This was a senseless act of evil,” said Loudermilk, whose 11th Congressional District includes parts of Buckhead and Sandy Springs, on his Twitter account. “Please pray for those who were shot and their families. There were a lot of heroes here today.”
Several Republican members of Congress and their staffs and family members were at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in Alexandria, Va., to practice for a charity baseball game against a similar team of Democrats. A gunman opened fire with a rifle on the group for a prolonged period until he was killed by police officers, according to the Washington Post and other media reports.
The gunman has been identified in media reports as James T. Hodgkinson III, 66, of Illinois, who was a Democratic activist with an arrest record including charges of battery and domestic violence.
President Donald Trump made a public statement expressing support for the shooting victims, praising the police response, and calling for political unity.
“We may have our differences, but we do well, in times like these, to remember that everyone who serves in our nation’s capital is here because, above all, they love our country,” Trump said. “We can all agree that we are blessed to be Americans, that our children deserve to grow up in a nation of safety and peace, and that we are strongest when we are unified and when we work together for the common good.”
Republican Karen Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff, the candidates competing in the 6th Congressional District, which is adjacent to Loudermilk’s district, condemned the shooting in Twitter statements.
“Steve & I send our thoughts & prayers to Rep. Scalise, Capitol Police, staff, & everyone affected by this horrific attack this morning in VA,” said Handel on behalf of herself and her husband.
“This is a shocking act of violence in Virginia and I’m praying for all those wounded in this morning’s shooting,” said Ossoff.
According to WSB-TV reports, Hodgkinson recently criticized Handel on a Facebook post, calling her by a vulgar insult and taking issue with her statement in a debate that she does not support a “livable wage” policy. The Facebook account appears to have been deleted after the shooting.