A gunman opened fired at a baseball field in Alexandria, Va. near Washington early on Wednesday during a Republican congressional baseball practice, injuring several people including House of Representatives Majority Whip Steve Scalise.

According to local police, the gunman had been taken into custody and was “not a threat” any more.

U.S. President Donald Trump said in a statement that he was “deeply saddened by this tragedy.”

Trump also wrote on Twitter that Scalise was “badly injured but will fully recover.”

According to Alexandria Chief Michael Brown, five people received medical transport from the scene and a congressional aide told local media that Scalise was in stable condition.

The U.S. TV network CNN cited congressional and law enforcement sources as saying that the shooting appeared to be a “deliberate attack.”

“The gun was a semiautomatic,” Representative Mo Brooks told CNN, adding that the shooter appeared to be a white male.

Talking to the U.S. TV network MSNBC, Senator Rand Paul, who was at the scene when the shooting happened, said that he believed the shooter reloaded what sounded like an AR-15.

He also said that lawmakers and others were lucky that Capitol Police were at the scene.

The Capitol Police were at the scene because of the presence of Scalise, the third-ranking Republican in Congress.

The shooting incident, which appeared to target Republican lawmakers and aides, is expected again to stir up debate on gun control regulations.

In recent years, after high-profile mass shootings occurred, such as the carnage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in 2012 which claimed 28 lives, including 20 children, Democrats tried but failed each time to reform the country’s flawed gun laws.

In 2013, former president Barack Obama’s administration’s gun control initiatives, including expanded background checks and bans on assault weapons, were stymied in Congress after staunch opposition from Republican lawmakers and gun-rights lobby groups.

After 49 people were killed and 53 others wounded, on June 12, 2016 in a shooting spree at a popular LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Florida, the deadliest terror attack in the history since the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001, Republican-controlled Congress still failed to pass gun control measures. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh