GOP lawmaker Scalise still critical though doctors 'encouraged'

GOP lawmaker Scalise still critical though doctors 'encouraged'

He suffered a rifle wound in his left hip that shattered bones, tore organs and caused severe bleeding.

Dr. Jack Sava gave an update on Scalise's condition Friday afternoon and said Scalise was on the brink of death when he got to the hospital by helicopter Wednesday morning.

"On behalf of Steve and our children, I want to thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts for the incredible amount of prayers and warm wishes we have received since Wednesday's events", Scalise's wife, Jennifer, said in a statement Friday.

The congressman will require more surgeries and will be in the hospital for "presumably weeks", Sava said.

Because the bullet shattered, there may be hundreds of fragments in Scalise's body and doctors do not intend to try to remove them all, Sava said.

Colleagues who visited Scalise sounded generally upbeat, but spoke more in terms of hopes than the confident predictions of the immediate aftermath a day earlier.

Scalise remains in critical condition after he was gunned down at a congressional baseball practice Wednesday morning. Hodgkinson wounded House GOP Whip Steve Scalise and several others.

Despite the shooting, the congressional baseball game went forward Thursday evening at Nationals Park in Washington.

Scalise, 51, and four others were wounded when an IL man opened fire Wednesday morning on the team practice in Alexandria.

Shooter James Hodgkinson of Belleville, Ill., was shot and died later Wednesday of his wounds in the hospital.

A spokesman for George Washington University Hospital said that Matt Mika, a lobbyist wounded in the attack, was improving, and that as of Thursday night his condition had been upgraded from critical to serious. Investigators are trying to determine what his intent may have been - whether it was a list of potential targets for violence or whether he wrote them down for some other reason, one official said.

President Donald Trump has called for unity in the wake of the horrific shooting incident in which a top Republican leader, Steve Scalise, was injured, saying that despite differences the devotion to the country brings the people together. "Let us always remember that our job is to serve and represent the whole American people - and that we are all children of the same God", Trump said.

Also suffering relatively minor injuries were two Capitol Police officers, David Bailey and Crystal Griner, and House GOP aide Zack Barth.

Scalise's Chief of Staff shared a message from the congressman's family at a Friday press conference. Capitol Police said they had "no evidence to suggest that the purchases were not lawful".

His social media presence indicated he was strongly opposed to Republicans, including President Trump. Griner remained hospitalized at MedStar Hospital after getting shot in the ankle, and Sava described her in good condition.