Several GOP lawmakers described in vivid detail Wednesday how a routine baseball practice turned into a shootout that wounded a top Republican lawmaker and a congressional aide.
Rep. Steve Scalise — as well as a congressional staffer and members of the congressional police force — was shot in Alexandria, Virginia, in what sources are calling an apparent “deliberate attack.”
Lawmakers who were at the practice described a harrowing scene in interviews on CNN.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul
“I was in the right-field batting cage outside of the fence line and the first shot rang out. And I grew up in the South, so I’m used to hearing an occasional shotgun. It didn’t sound like a shotgun but it did sound like a rifle. Then there were a couple of seconds — everybody kind of looked up and heard the sound but we were about ready to go back around our business. Nobody dropped to the ground. Nobody ducked, nobody did anything as far as I could see.
“But then, five to 10 shots in a row very quickly rang out, and that’s when everybody was hitting the dirt. I saw Scalise go down at second base. There were staffers running from the perimeter of the outfield from third base going all the way to where I was. I was in the far perimeter of right field. At some point, 50 or 60 shots, at least, had been fired from the shooter and then we start to hear the Capitol Hill Police respond and there is a different weapon, so you hear pistol shots going back at the shooter.
“I can tell you that I think with absolute certainty that nobody would have survived without the Capitol Hill Police. They saved everybody’s life. Incredibly brave and deserve everyone’s praise, because with this guy, who knows how heavily armed he was, but nobody else had a weapon, so he was just killing everyone and would have … It would have been a massacre without them.”
Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake
“Steve was playing second base … Steve’s OK, we believe. But Steve dragged himself about 15 yards off near second base onto the field. He was laying motionless out there, but we couldn’t get to him until the shooting had stopped. After a time, another staffer ran in with a leg wound. He was shot in the leg. I think it was … one of Roger Williams staffers. (He) was then shot in the field and continued to run and limped into the dug out and we got a belt … Joe Barton’s boy, a 10-year-old, was here. And we got him in the dugout, we put him under a bench … I got a look at the shooter. It was a man with a blue shirt … What do you make of it? I have no idea. But I got Steve Scalise’s phone and I called his wife. I didn’t want her to wake up and hear the news and not know what was going on.”
Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks
“The Capitol security guy, who had already been shot, who helped take down the shooter, came limping toward us in the outfield, totally ignoring his own wounds, to check on the person he was primarily responsible for (Steve Scalise).
“We insisted that he go back and get attended to because he was bleeding, but he was doing his job. And I tell you, those two security details, those two Capitol police officers, they showed incredible bravery — pistols against a rifle — from a 90- to 120-feet distance. As you know, that kind of distance heavily favors the rifle. One of our security detail, from what I understand, was shot in the chest.
“It seemed like forever that we had no help … We had people in first base dugout who were screaming into their telephones that we were under attack and to send help immediately. And I think that was because of the concerns that our security detail might out-gunned. Again, it was pistols verse rifles, and it seemed to take forever for local law enforcement officials to figure out that we were under attack and to get reinforcement.”