(CN) — House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana was among five people shot Wednesday when a gunman opened fire at a congressional baseball practice.
MedStar Washington Hospital Center, where Scalise was taken after the shooting, tweeted Wednesday afternoon that the Republican "was critically injured and remains in critical condition."
Two police officers and three others were also reportedly wounded in what authorities say was a "deliberate attack." The lone gunman, identified as James T. Hodgkinson, was shot and taken to a DC-area hospital where he died of his wounds.
Hodgkinson, 66, lived in Belleville, Ill., where he ran a home-inspection business out of his home, he was a volunteer for Sen. Bernie Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign, and he was apparently distraught of the election of President Donald Trump.
In brief remarks in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Trump opened by announcing Hodgkinson's death. He then called Scalise a "friend ... a patriot and a fighter" and said he spoke to the congressman's wife, Jennifer Scalise, and "pledged to her our full and absolute support -- anything she needs. We are with her and with the entire Scalise family."
The president also called for unity from the American people.
"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," he said.
Shortly after the president spoke, Sen. Sanders released a statement in which he said, "I have just been informed that the alleged shooter at the Republican baseball practice is someone who apparently volunteered on my presidential campaign.
"I am sickened by this despicable act," Sanders continued. "Let me be as clear as I can be. Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms. Real change can only come about through nonviolent action, and anything else runs against our most deeply held American values.
"My hopes and prayers are that Representative Scalise, congressional staff and the Capitol Police Officers who were wounded make a quick and full recovery. I also want to thank the Capitol Police for their heroic actions to prevent further harm," the senator concluded.
Several members of Congress and congressional aides had gathered shortly after 6 a.m. Wednesday morning at a baseball field in Alexandria, Va., just outside of Washington, while lawmakers practiced for a charity baseball game played between Republicans and Democrats every year.
According to Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., he was on deck about to hit batting practice on the third-base side when he heard shots fired.
"And I look around and behind third base in the third base dugout, which is cinderblock, I see a rifle. And I see a little bit of a body and then I hear another 'blam' and then I realize there's an active shooter."
Brooks said he heard Scalise scream and then took cover behind a batting cage and later the first base dugout.
He also said a member of the congressional security detail returned fire.