For many people from his native Louisiana, Steve Scalise is a well-known and popular politician. But he was also not really known to other people in the United States and around the world, at least to those who might not be so familiar with people who hold political office in the United States.
That changed, however, when Scalise was shot dead during baseball training in Congress in June 2017. At the time of the shooting, Scalise was serving as a Majority Whip in the United States House of Representatives and as a representative for the 1st Congress. Let’s talk about who he is and discuss the details of that fateful day in June.
Who Is Steve Scalise?
Steve Scalise was born on October 6, 1965, in New Orleans, Louisiana. He was born as one of three children of his parents, his father, Alfred Joseph Scalise, a real estate agent, and his mother, Carol Schilleci.
His full name at birth was Steven Joseph Scalise and his siblings are Glenn and Tara Scalise. Steve Scalise attended Archbishop Rummel’s College in Metairie, and after graduating from the university there, he enrolled at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. At LSU, Scalise earned a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Computer Science and a minor in Political Science. During his time in Louisiana, he began his career as a politician. Scalise has been twice elected speaker of the LSU Student Government Association.
He entered mainstream politics when he took the seat of Republican President Quentin D. Dastugue won after he unsuccessfully applied for the office of Governor of Louisiana. Scalise represented Dastugue’s seat in District 82 and won re-election in 1999 and 2003, remaining there until 2007.
In October 2007, Steve Scalise was elected to the seat of District 9 in the Louisiana Senate, which had been vacated by Ken Hollis of Metairie. His mandate was subject to a bipartisan primary and he received 61 percent of the vote.
In 2007, when Bobby Jindal was elected Governor of the State of Louisiana, Scalise declared his intention to run for his vacant seat in the United States House of Representatives. Scalise first had to defeat his Republican counterpart Timothy G. Burns in the Republican primary and then the Democratic candidate Gilda Reed in the general election with 75.13% of the vote.
In 2012, the politician was elected chairman of the conservative Republican House of Representatives Committee on Studies. Steve Scalise launched a campaign in 2014 to replace Congressman Kevin McCarthy as majority leader of the House. McCarthy himself had previously replaced Congressman Eric Cantor as majority leader of the House. Scalise continued to win the race.
Why Was He Shot And By Who?
Over the years, the division of the American community deepened along party lines. If we consider recent events, this partisan division seems to be growing and expanding. One of the ways proposed to overcome this gaping divide is the annual Congressional baseball game, which is played in good spirits with politicians from both sides of the aisle.
On Wednesday, June 14, 2017, Republican party members had a training session on a baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia, in preparation for the annual game, when a left-wing extremist, later identified as 66 years old, James Hodgkinson of Illinois, opened fire on the players. Hodgkinson was exposed as a supporter of the Democratic candidate, Bernie Sanders, in the run-up to the 2016 general election. He was angry about the election of President Donald Trump, anti-trump rhetoric was found on his social media accounts.
Hodgkinson is said to have visited the field before and on the morning of the shooting. He is said to have inquired which congressional team had his training. When he learned that it was the Republicans, he opened fire. This happened at about 7:06 a.m., he fired from outside the third base of the field behind the fence surrounding the field.
Capitol Police Special Agents, David Bailey, and Crystal Griner, who were part of Scalise’s routine security, returned fire. Unfortunately, Steve Scalise was on second base when the shooting began and was hit in the hip. He went down and had to crawl to the outfield, leaving a trail of blood.
Agent Griner was shot in the ankle in the shootout with Hodgkinson. Matt Mika, a lobbyist for Tyson Foods, was also shot. Zachary Barth, a parliamentary correspondent of Congressman Roger Williams, was also shot along with David Bailey of Capitol Police.
Alexandria police officers arrived three minutes after the first emergency call. Officers Alexander Jensen and David Bailey received shots that hit the suspect.
Between 7:06 a.m. and 7:15 a.m., when he was handcuffed, Hodgkinson is said to have fired at least 70 shots from his weapons, including an SKS-style semi-automatic assault rifle and a 9mm handgun. Hodgkinson was pronounced dead at the hospital as he died of his injuries.