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CongressGOP baseball shooting

Scalise's condition improves, but more operations and long hospital stay expected

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was at "imminent risk of death" after a gunman opened fire at a congressional baseball team practice, but the GOP leader is making progress and is expected to be able to walk again, officials said Friday.

The No. 3 House Republican remains in intensive care and is likely to stay hospitalized for weeks. He will need additional operations, possibly in the coming days.

"The congressman’s status remains critical. We are encouraged by improvement in his condition over the last 36 hours. We have controlled the internal bleeding and his vital signs have stabilized," said Dr. Jack Sava, director of trauma at Washington MedStar Hospital Center, briefing reporters. 

"An excellent recovery is a good possibility."

The Republican baseball team was practicing early Wednesday ahead of an annual charity game when a gunman who had ranted against President Trump opened fire wounding Scalise and others in the ball field outside Washington.

Witnesses said the shooting would have been a "massacre" if not for the Capitol Police officers on duty as part of Scalise's security detail and the gunfight that ensued as local law enforcement arrived. 

Capitol Police Special Agent Crystal Griner was shot in the ankle but was recovering at the hospital.

"She’s in good condition and she’s in good spirits," Sava said.

A congressional staffer and lobbyist were also shot, and another congressman and police officer suffered injuries.

The congresswoman's wife, Jennifer, issued a statement Friday thankful for "the incredible amount of prayers and warm wishes we have received."

The shooting cast a somber mood over Washington and momentarily tamped down the partisan fighting. Thursday night's annual Congressional Ball Game drew record crowds and, despite an 11-2 rout by Democrats over Republicans, the GOP team took home the trophy as lawmakers dedicated the game to Scalise.

Speaking in Miami on Friday, Trump said Scalise "took a bullet for all of us.  And because of him, and the tremendous pain and suffering he’s now enduring -- he’s having a hard time, far worse than anybody thought -- our country will perhaps become closer, more unified."

"So we all owe Steve a big, big thank you," the president said.

The rifle blast to Scalise's left hip, as he stood near second base, caused "substantial damage" to bones, internal organs and blood vessels. By the time he arrived after being airlifted to the hospital, he was in shock.

"He was as critical as can be," Sava said.

Predicting when the congressman would be released from the hospital was difficult, the doctor said, adding that "he will require a period of healing and of rehabilitation." The rifle blast left possibly hundreds of bullet fragments that the doctor said will not likely be removed.

"I feel a lot more confident and a lot more optimistic than I did two, three days ago," Sava said. 

"We fully expect him to be able to walk ... hopefully, run."

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