USA lawmaker shot by anti-Trump gunman showing improvement

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Scalise, 51, a Louisiana Republican who is the No. 3 House Republican, remained in critical condition at a hospital a few miles from the stadium after undergoing a third surgery on Thursday.

Republicans and Democrats fight for bragging rights Thursday in the annual Congressional Baseball game as one unit - Team Scalise. The crowd chanted "USA!" The shooter died after exchanging gunfire with police.

Representatives on both teams made a decision to go forward with the game, which got underway at 7 p.m.

Scalise's security detail and other police officers shot and killed the assailant, James Hodgkinson of IL, who had lashed out against President Donald Trump and other Republicans over social media. Before the game, all players bowed their heads for a moment of silence and prayer to honor Scalise. He remains in critical condition, but has improved in the last 24 hours.

Trump says Scalise "continues his very courageous fight", but adds: "it's been much more hard than people even thought at the time". Scalise's colleagues will take the field wearing Louisiana State University baseball caps as a tribute to his alma mater.

"Tonight's game has taken on a much deeper level of meaning, beyond anything that we would have thought", Trump said.

Hodgkinson had been in the Alexandria area since March, living out of his van, said local FBI Special Agent In Charge Tim Slater.

The U.S. Capitol Police said Hodgkinson used a 9 mm handgun and a 7.62-caliber rifle in the shooting, and traces run by investigators showed he evidently acquired the weapons legally. Republicans and Democrats play one another in annual event, which raises funds for charity.

Sava said he told Scalise's family that "I am not declaring victory until he's playing ball in his back yard with his family". Lawmakers, including many of those who were at the practice, praised the decision. Also hurt but released from hospitals were two Capitol Police officers, David Bailey and Crystal Griner, and House GOP aide Zack Barth. I know that there are some people out there that look to target members of Congress and I accept that.

Following the shooting, President Donald Trump urged Americans to come together as he assumed the role of national unifier for one of the first times in his presidency.

The congressional game, which dates to 1909 and is a summertime tradition on Capitol Hill, is a rare example of bipartisanship in an increasingly polarized Washington.

It's pretty serious. He was visited Wednesday evening by the president and the first lady, and President Trump at the White House today was candid about the seriousness of his injuries.

"I had no idea this was going to happen, and I don't know what to say about it", she said with difficulty, through tears.

In a final flourish of bipartisan camaraderie for the night, Democrat Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania, his team's manager, accepted the trophy, then gave it to his Republican counterpart Joe Barton of Texas, to put in Mr Scalise's office on behalf of the Democrats.

Although Scalise was able to talk on the ballfield, by the time he was transported by helicopter to the hospital, he was in shock.

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