ATLANTA -- Georgia Gov. Deal added his voice to the many lawmakers expressing shock after a shooting at the site where members of Congress were practicing for a baseball game.
On Wednesday morning, gunshots rang out at the Eugene Simpson Stadium park in Alexandria, Va. where congressional republicans were practicing for the annual game against democrats. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La. was among at least five people wounded in the incident.
SHOOTING IN VA | What we know
Following the shooting, Deal, a personal friend of Scalise who served with him in Congress, tweeted a message condemning the attack.
Rep. Scalise is a personal friend of mine, I wish him, along with the others injured in this senseless & evil attack, a full recovery.— Governor Nathan Deal (@GovernorDeal) June 14, 2017
My thoughts and prayers are with these members, their families, congressional staff and the responding Capitol Police officers.— Governor Nathan Deal (@GovernorDeal) June 14, 2017
During a Wednesday press conference at the Georgia state Capitol, Deal reiterated those sentiments saying his thoughts were with "all of those involved or injured."
"We certainly pray that they will have a successful recovery," he said. "This is an unfortunate situation again, but fortunately no one was apparently killed at this point."
Capitol Police, part of Rep. Scalise's detail, and Alexandria Police were able to subdue the suspect. Officials believe James T. Hodgkinson targeted members of Congress, after investigators found anti-Trump social media posts and a rant about Rep. Candidate Karen Handel on his accounts. He later died after being shot by Capitol Police.
While Deal cautioned against presuming the motivations of the shooting were political, he said that the political environment today is such that "anyone in elected office is always subject to being attacked, and we all know that," he said. "That is something we did not anticipate perhaps years ago, but it now becomes a reality with events like this, and it requires all of us to be vigilant. But this is the kind of random act that nobody can totally prepare for."
While Deal said he doesn't think it is necessary for lawmakers to have security, Sen. Rand Paul told media outlets that without the Capitol Police stopping the shooter, "it probably would have been a massacre." Nevertheless, Deal cautioned against overreacting to the situation.
"These are just random acts, and we can’t live our lives based in fear, nor can we adjust our lives to one rather isolated circumstance," he said. "But to understand someone who would take a rifle and try to shoot down innocent people, it’s unfathomable in the minds of most of us."
Read the latest on the shooting here: http://on.11alive.com/2sBngeb
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