US & Canada

Congressional baseball game goes on in wake of shooting

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Media captionCongressional baseball game goes on day after shooting

US politicians have played a charity baseball game a day after a shooting - as they practised in Virginia - wounded a top Republican and three others.

The annual congressional baseball game in Washington was hailed as a rare and welcome moment of unity among lawmakers of both major parties.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise remains in a critical condition, but improving, after the shooting.

There were huge cheers when his name was heard around the stadium.

"Not here, but in our thoughts and prayers, Steve Scalise," said the announcer before the game, which was won by the Democrats by 11 runs to 2, moving them ahead with 40 wins to 39 in the historic series.

However, Democratic Senator Chris Murphy said that his team gave the trophy to the Republicans to put in Mr Scalise's office.

One of the Capitol Police officers, David Bailey, who was hailed as a hero for the way he helped to subdue the gunman, appeared on crutches.

To loud applause he threw the first pitch, which is a longstanding baseball ritual that usually falls to a dignitary or celebrity.

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Image caption David Bailey, a police officer injured in the shooting, got a huge cheer
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Ivanka Trump attended the match, but her father did not

President Donald Trump did not attend but sent a video message of support.

The game, held at Nationals Park, has been a congressional tradition for more than a century.

Both Republicans and Democrats have pointed to the attack as a reason to ease heated political rhetoric.

A feel-good moment - Laura Bicker, BBC News, Nationals Park

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Image caption There were messages of support for Steve Scalise

This isn't just a baseball game. It is a rare and genuine opportunity for Democrats and Republicans to put their divisions aside and show those gathered in the stadium and watching across the US, that they are not just politicians - they are people and players.

One woman who bought her ticket after yesterday's shooting told me she wanted just one feel-good moment after everything that has happened. Another group of Republican interns described the game as the only thing in Washington that really works.

The crowds are holding banners and team colours. Many are tributes and prayers for Congressman Steve Scalise.

There may be fierce rivalry out on the pitch, but there are also a number of players who have become fierce friends.

The suspected gunman, James T Hodgkinson, died from his injuries hours after Wednesday's shooting.

The 66-year-old suspect from Belleville, Illinois, was a volunteer for Senator Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign but whether he was politically motivated is still unclear, investigators said.

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Media captionWhy are this Republican and Democrat on the road together?

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