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Alexandria shooting: Gunman dead after shooting top Republican politician Steve Scalise at baseball practice

A man who shot top Republican politician Steve Scalise at a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia has died from his injuries.

Five people were injured when the gunman opened fire on the US congressmen.

Capitol Police said officers who were part of Mr Scalise's security detail returned fire and wounded the shooter.

In all, five people were taken to hospital, including the suspect, Alexandria police said.

Mr Scalise, 51, the number three House Republican leader first elected to the House in 2008, is in a stable condition and undergoing surgery at a nearby hospital.

His injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.

President Donald Trump said he was "deeply saddened by this tragedy" and was monitoring developments.

A law enforcement official said the shooting is being investigated as a criminal act rather than an act of terrorism.

The shooting occurred at a popular park and baseball complex in Alexandria, Virginia, where politicians and others were gathered for a morning practice at about 7am local time.

The team was taking batting practice when a gunshot rang out and chaos erupted, politicians on the scene said.

"All of a sudden we heard a very loud shot. The gunman was over by the third base dugout with a clear view of the field," Republican Jeff Flake told CNN.

Louisiana Representative Mr Scalise was fielding balls on second base when he was shot, Mr Flake said.

He said the congressman dragged himself 10 to 15 yards into the outfield to get further away from the gunman.

Initial reports said that as many as 50 shots had been fired, but Mr Flake said "50 would be an understatement. He had a lot of ammo".

Katie Filous was walking her two dogs near the field when she heard "a lot of shots, probably more than 20".

She said the shooting "went on for quite a while".

Ms Filous said she saw the shooter hit a uniformed law enforcement officer, who she said was later evacuated by helicopter.

She said the officer had got out of a parked car, drawn a handgun and shouted something to the gunman, who then fired.

Once the gunman was down, Mr Flake ran to Mr Scalise and tended to him.

He said he grabbed Mr Scalise's phone to call his wife.

"I just didn't want her to wake up and learn the news," Mr Flake said.

Representative Mo Brooks, an Alabama Republican, said that Mr Scalise had what appeared to be "a hip wound".

The Alabama politician said his colleague "crawled into the outfield, leaving a trail of blood".

"We started giving him the liquids, I put pressure on his wound in his hip," Mr Brooks said.

Mr Brooks said two law enforcement officers were believed to be among the others shot.

Texas Representative Roger Williams said a member of his staff was also shot and was receiving medical attention.

Mr Williams did not say what condition the staffer was in.

House Speaker Paul Ryan's office said Mr Scalise's wounds were not believed to be life-threatening and that a member of the security detail was also shot.

Representative Jeff Duncan said in a statement that he was at the practice and said "saw the shooter".

"Please pray for my colleagues," Mr Duncan said.

US Capitol Police said the officers wounded while responding to the shooting are expected to survive.

Capitol Police chief Matthew Verderosa said during a news conference that the wounded officers are in good condition and had injuries not considered life-threatening.

The nature of their injuries was not immediately clear.

Alexandria police chief Michael Brown said five people were taken to hospital but it was not clear how many of those were law enforcement officers.

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From Belfast Telegraph