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Sen. Bernie Sanders took to the Senate floor on Wednesday to say he was "sickened" by the assault which he described as a "despicable act." (Photo: CNN/Screenshot)

Sen. Bernie Sanders Condemns 'Despicable' Attack on Republican Lawmakers

'My hopes and prayers are that Representative Scalise, congressional staff and the Capitol Police Officers who were wounded make a quick and full recovery.'

Common Dreams staff

Updated:

Details began to emerge of the individual identified as the assailant in Wednesday morning's shooting in Virginia as law enforcement officials identified the gunman as 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois.

"Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms." —Sen. Bernie SandersIn remarks at the White House delivered late Wednesday morning, President Donald Trump, though he did not mention Hodgkinson by name, said the gunman died following a shootout with Capitol Police.

As his Facebook page showed that Hodgkinson was a supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and after the senator learned the alleged perpetrator had apparently volunteered for his campaign during last year's election, Sanders took to the Senate floor just after noon on Wednesday to say he was "sickened" by the assault which he described as a "despicable act."

"Let me be as clear as I can be," Sanders stated. "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."

Watch:

"My hopes and prayers are that Representative Scalise, congressional staff and the Capitol Police Officers who were wounded make a quick and full recovery," Sanders continued. "I also want to thank the Capitol Police for their heroic actions to prevent further harm."

As it appeared inevitable the shooting would be politicized by some (and quickly was), numerous progressive organizations echoed Sanders in denouncing the use of political violence:

Earlier:

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), the majority whip of the House of Representatives, is reportedly among several people who were shot in Alexandria, Virginia on Wednesday morning after a congressional softball team practice became the target of a still unidentified gunman.

CNN reports:

Rep. Mo Brooks told CNN he was on deck at a practice for the congressional baseball team when the shooting occurred. Scalise, a member of the House Republican leadership as the majority whip, appeared to have been shot in the hip and it appeared two Capitol Hill police agents were shot, Brooks added.According to both congressional and law enforcement sources, the shooting appears to be a "deliberate attack."

Alexandria police said earlier Wednesday they were responding to a "multiple shooting" in the city. The tweet also said the suspect is in custody "and not a threat." CNN has reached out to Capitol Hill police for details.

Watch/listen to Rep. Brooks' account:

Early reports indicated that Scalise was in stable condition and that at least two other victims, including a congressional staffer and a capitol hill police officer, were wounded but expected to survive. At a press briefing at 9:00 am, police said that five people had been transported to local hospitals for treatment but said their names and medical status were being withheld.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), among the lawmakers at the scene, spoke to MSNBC via phone after the incident. He described a scene of chaos on the baseball field after multiple shots rang out. He said the only reason Capitol Police were there was because Scalise is a House leader. Paul told the news outlet that if those officers had not been present "it would have been a massacre."

Live cable news coverage:

Democratic and Independent lawmakers were swiftly offering their prayers and condolences to the victims:

This is a developing story... Check back for updates.


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