Congressman Steve Scalise, who was shot and nearly killed while practicing for a charity GOP baseball game in 2017, still isn’t quite ready to forgive the man responsible.
On Friday, the Louisiana Republican told reporters that the topic of forgiveness came up the previous week, during his trip with Vice President Mike Pence to visit with the leaders three historically black churches in Louisiana which were burned within a 10-day span last month, according to the Associated Press.
While one of the pastors shared that he had already forgiven the man who had been accused of setting the churches on fire, Scalise, 52, said he had yet to reach that milestone himself — despite his best efforts.
“I still have to address forgiveness for the shooting two years ago, so it was really good to talk to [the pastor] and kind of get an understanding of how he got to that point,” Scalise told reporters.
“I’ve never internally formally forgiven the shooter from the baseball shooting,” he added. “It’s something I’ve struggled with as a Catholic. I mean, part of my faith is forgiveness and I’m working to get there.”
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Scalise, who was then the House Majority Whip, was one of four people shot when a gunman opened fire in June 2017 while the Republican team practiced in Alexandria, Virginia, for the annual bipartisan Congressional Baseball Game.
The congressman was shot in the hip by a bullet that ripped through his body, causing severe damage to internal organs, which required multiple surgeries.
Although he was able to speak while he lay injured on the field, he suffered massive blood loss and went into shock, which left him in “imminent risk of death” upon arriving at the hospital via helicopter, his doctors shared at the time.
The gunman, identified as 66-year-old James Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois, died from injuries he sustained during a shootout with police on the scene.
Scalise, who still uses a cane, was welcomed with a standing ovation when he returned to the House for the first time in September 2017, according to
The warm reception continued in June 2018, when the Republican congressman — who has not swayed his stance against gun control — returned to the field where he had been shot the previous year to once again take part in the charity game.
“I’m definitely a living example that miracles really do happen,” he shared in an interview at the time, according to NPR.