US congressman leaves hospital six weeks after being shot

"He is in good spirits and is looking forward to his return to work once he completes rehabilitation," said the hospital in a statement.
"He is in good spirits and is looking forward to his return to work once he completes rehabilitation," said the hospital in a statement. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Steve Scalise, the US congressman shot last month by a gunman angry about President Donald Trump, has been released from the hospital and will undergo extended rehabilitation, the hospital announced Wednesday (July 26).

"Yesterday, he was discharged from MedStar Washington Hospital Center and is now beginning a period of intensive inpatient rehabilitation," the hospital said in a statement.

The 51-year-old lawmaker from Louisiana "has made excellent progress in his recovery from a life-threatening gunshot wound six weeks ago," the hospital added.

"He is in good spirits and is looking forward to his return to work once he completes rehabilitation." Scalise, a rising conservative star in Congress, is the number three Republican in the House of Representatives and holds the position of majority whip, who rallies the party's votes in the chamber.

He was shot in the left hip by a high-velocity rifle wielded by a gunmen who stormed a congressional charity baseball game practice on June 14.

A lobbyist, a congressional aide and a US Capitol Police officer who exchanged fire with the gunman were also shot. They have been released from the hospital and are expected to recover.

The attack stunned Washington, in part because of its political nature.

The round that struck Scalise fragmented into hundreds of pieces and tore apart bones, internal organs and blood vessels.

Scalise faced "an imminent risk of death," according to doctors. He spent weeks in and out of intensive care, undergoing multiple surgeries.

News of his release brought a flood of messages from Congress.

"Awesome news. Can't wait to have you back to work," House Speaker Paul Ryan posted on Twitter.

"Pleased to hear my friend @SteveScalise has been discharged from the hospital & wish him well as he continues his recovery," said Steny Hoyer, the number two House Democrat.

The gunman in the attack, 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois, was shot and killed by responding officers.

Federal investigators told reporters that Hodgkinson, who was living in Virginia at the time of the shooting, had kept a list of six members of Congress, was stockpiling ammunition and had made numerous posts on social media platforms "espousing anti-Republican views."