Top House Republican Seriously Wounded in Shooting at Baseball Practice
A U.S. congressman shot early Wednesday during practice for a charity baseball game was in critical condition following surgery, with the hospital treating him saying in a statement Wednesday night "he will require additional operations."
Rep. Steve Scalise, who represents the southern state of Louisiana and serves as the House majority whip, was wounded when an attacker armed with a rifle and a handgun fired on Republican lawmakers who were preparing for Thursday's annual game against a team of Democrats.
The gunman, 66-year-old James Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois, was wounded by Capitol Police and later died.
Besides Scalise, the shooter also wounded Capitol Police officer Crystal Griner, a congressional aide and a lobbyist.
The attack happened at a park in Alexandria, Virginia, just across the Potomac River from Washington where Thursday's game will be held.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer told a reporter late Wednesday that President Donald Trump would like to attend the game and show his support, but that there was not enough time to put in place necessary Secret Service security protocols.
Trump visited MedStar Washington Hospital Center along with his wife, Melania, Wednesday night to see Scalise and his family, and to meet with Griner and her wife. The president later wrote on Twitter that Scalise is in "very tough shape" but is "a real fighter."
Trump said earlier in remarks at the White House that the shootings are a reminder for all citizens to overcome the political polarization that has gripped Washington and the rest of the nation.
At least 12 killed in the London fire
Grief turned to anger as firefighters continued to battle one of London’s biggest fire disasters in recent memory and leaders faced questions about possible fire safety violations.
Police say at least 12 people were killed as a rapidly-moving blaze raced through a 24-story apartment building in West London in the pre-dawn hours Wednesday, trapping residents.
The death toll was expected to rise as firefighters went floor by floor, dousing the remaining flames and searching for survivors and victims in the high-rise.
Grenfell Tower contained an estimated 120 apartments and was home to as many as 600 people. The building is in an ethnically diverse, densely populated West London’s North Kensington area. Among those missing on Wednesday were a number of children.
Witnesses said they heard screams for help as the fire stormed through the floors, trapping residents who could be seen from windows flashing their cell phone lights in hopes of being rescued. Witnesses said some residents held small children from windows while other people jumped from the lower stories of the building.
As the building continued to burn after noon Wednesday, questions emerged on why the fire spread through the building so quickly in a city where a centuries-old history of disastrous fires has forced one of the world’s most stringent fire codes.
Some residents evacuated from the building said they did not hear fire alarms. Some reported smelling burning plastic in the early moments of the fire, which broke out just after midnight. Questions pointed to non-existent or malfunctioning sprinklers, flammable plastic building components, and insufficient fire escapes.
Survivors also said they received orders from emergency workers to stay in their apartments, a standard fire procedure but one that angry residents said was the wrong thing to do this time.
Fire investigators said it was too early to tell what started the fire or caused it to spread so rapidly. London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the focus Wednesday was on search and rescue, but “many, many people have legitimate questions that demand answers,” Khan said.
British Prime Minister Theresa May called an emergency meeting on dealing with the disaster. A spokesman for Number 10 Downing Street said May “is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life.”
Officials said it could be days before an investigation could yield any hint of what caused the fire or why it spread so quickly.