One day after a gunman opened fire at a Republican congressional baseball practice in Virginia, shooting House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and three others, lawmakers are ready to take the field Thursday evening at Nationals Park in a game that has taken on a whole new level of meaning.
Scalise was rushed to MedStar Washington Hospital Center and was immediately taken into surgery.
The congressman underwent another surgery Saturday, and the hospital said he was more responsive and speaking with family.
Following the shooting, President Donald Trump urged Americans to come together as he assumed the role of national unifier for one of the first times in his presidency.
Officials said Hodgkinson was carrying notes on which he had written the names of some Republican lawmakers.
His risk of death is "substantially lower" than it was when he was admitted to the hospital on Wednesday, and "I think that an excellent recovery is a good possibility", Sava said.
Scalise, the third-ranking GOP leader in the House, "continues to show signs of improvement", MedStar Washington Hospital Center said in a statement released on behalf of his family. The bullet traveled across his pelvis, fracturing bones, injuring internal organs, and causing severe bleeding.
While he's still under sedation, Sava says Scalise has responded to family members.
The shooter, identified as James T. Hodgkinson, a 66-year-old home inspector from IL, was shot and killed by Capitol Police officers who were in Scalise's security detail.
The shot fired at Scalise left perhaps hundreds of bullet fragments internally, many of which may never be removed because surgery might be more unsafe than leaving them in place, Sava said. "By playing tonight, you are showing the world that we will not be intimidated by threats, acts of violence, or assaults on our democracy".
Sava told reporters that predicting Scalise's length of hospital stay was "difficult", but said it would be for a "considerable" amount of time, "presumably weeks".
President Trump is not planning to attend the game because of security concerns, the White House said Wednesday. We also pray Special Agents Crystal Griner and David Bailey of the Capitol Police for their heroic deeds that saved so many lives. Griner remains in the hospital, but Sava said she is "in good condition" and "in good spirits".