- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 14, 2017

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu put off his last “State of the City” speech Wednesday to ask instead for prayers for “my good buddy Steve” - that is, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise - and others shot during practice for a charity baseball game.

Scalise was among five people shot during the Republican team’s batting practice Wednesday morning in Alexandria, Virginia, by a gunman who apparently had just asked which party’s team was on the field. Also shot were two U.S. Capitol Police officers, a legislative aide and a lobbyist and former congressional aide who was volunteering to help the team prepare.

The shooter was killed. He was identified as James T. Hodgkinson, 66, a former home inspector from Illinois who belonged to a Facebook group called “Terminate the Republican Party.”

“This is not a partisan issue,” Landrieu said in a speech live streamed on the mayoral Facebook page. “Any attack on any elected official (or) anybody who works for the government, because you’re upset with the other side is an attack on the entire country.”

Landrieu said he had been told the congressman was in serious but stable condition.

“Now, more than ever, we have to put aside our differences and unite against cowardly violence,” Landrieu said.

The mayor, a Democrat, said the public may not understand that people can be personal friends in spite of strong political disagreements.

“The world sees us fighting politically because we battle hard for the positions that we think are important for our constituents. What the public may not understand is that we know each other really, really well. Our families know each other; we spend time together.”

The term-limited mayor said he would reschedule the “State of the City” speech. He has outlined plans and accomplishments each year after being elected in 2010.

The city is experiencing a surge in violent crimes, with Landrieu under heavy criticism from the district attorney, among others.

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