Read these lawmakers accounts of the congressional baseball shooting
A shooter opened fire Wednesday morning at a men’s congressional baseball practice, injuring at least three people, including Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who’s the third-ranking Republican in the House.
Five people were transported to a hospital, and a D.C. hospital tweeted that Scalise was “critically injured and remains in critical condition.” Scalise’s office initially said the congressman was in stable condition as he underwent surgery.
Authorities said it was a “stable situation” after police officers engaged the shooter and that the FBI would be taking over the investigation. President Donald Trump announced the shooter was shot dead by police.
Sen. Rand Paul, who’s provided the most detailed and dramatic account of the incident, said a “massacre” was prevented by Capitol Police officers and that he saw Scalise “trying to drag himself through the dirt out into the outfield.”
As authorities suss out the details of the shooting this morning, here are several eyewitness accounts offered by GOP lawmakers, including Paul, at the scene. It was the team’s final practice before its scheduled game at the Nationals Park tomorrow.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)
Sen. Rand Paul on shooting: “Nobody would have survived without Capitol Hill police. They saved everybody’s life" https://t.co/Pt46Boqbuq
— CNN (@CNN) June 14, 2017
Paul said there was at least 50 to 60 shots heard before police officers arrived. The Kentucky senator also said he saw a staffer quickly scale a fence to get away from the gunman.
“One of the things that’s really fortunate and probably why — everybody probably would have died except for the fact that the Capitol Hill police were there,” he said.
Capitol Police officers were at the practice as security detail for Scalise.
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.)
“Looks like only one shooter…whether he was targeting certain members, we don’t know,” Sen. Jeff Flake says, who witnessed shooting pic.twitter.com/0SolxHjRAG
— CBS News (@CBSNews) June 14, 2017
The Arizona senator said it appeared to be a single shooter, but it was unclear whether he was targeting certain lawmakers.
Flake also told reporters that one of Texas Rep. Joe Barton’s sons, age 10, was at the practice this morning.
“We got him in the dugout and put him under the bench,” he said.
Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.)
BREAKING: House Majority Whip Steve Scalise appears to have been shot in Alexandria, VA, GOP Rep. Mo Brooks says https://t.co/IVQc8RHXL8
— CNN (@CNN) June 14, 2017
As the shooting happened, Brooks said he heard Scalise, situated at second base, yell that he had been shot. People scattered from the field as the shooter unloaded what sounded like a semi-automatic weapon, the Alabama senator said.
After taking cover in the cinderblock dugout at the first base line, Brooks said he took a chance and ran to help a wounded staffer who was hit in the leg.
“I took off my belt and myself and the other congressman — I don’t remember who — applied a tourniquet to try to slow down the bleeding,” Brooks said.
Eventually, authorities shot the gunman. When police gave an all-clear, Brooks said he and others ran toward Scalise still at second base.
“We started giving him some liquids, I put pressure on his wound in his hip and Brad Wenstrup, a congressman from Ohio, Cincinnati, fortunately is a physician. He started doing what you need to do to try to minimize blood loss,” he said.
Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio)
— ABC News (@ABC) June 14, 2017
The Ohio congressman said Scalise was conscious after the shooting and was “noticeably in pain” as he and others provided him with fluids.
Wenstrup said he “did what I did in Iraq” to help treat Scalise.
Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas)
Barton, who is manager of the Republican team, told MSNBC that the shooting lasted five to 10 minutes and described how authorities took down the shooter. The Texas congressman said his two sons, including 10-year-old son Jack, took cover during the shooting.
— Tom Williams (@pennstatetom) June 14, 2017
“I think the security detail saved a lot of lives because they attacked the shooter,” a visibly shaken Barton said, adding that the heroes are the Capitol Hill police, Alexandria police and Scalise’s detail.
Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.)
Duncan said he left practice moments before the shooting took place and had a quick interaction with whom he believed was the shooter identified in media reports.
“I did have an interaction with someone in the parking lot who asked me if the team practicing was a Democrat or Republican team,” Duncan told reporters, adding that he’s given a statement to the Alexandria Police Department.
The South Carolina congressman said he told the man that the players are Republicans. The man thanked him and turned around while he got in his car and left.
“I got in the car and left, found out that my Republican colleagues were targeted by an active shooter,” he added.
Rep. Jack Bergman, (R-Mich.)
Retired Marine Bergman said it was obvious after the first couple shots rang out that there was an active shooter opening fire onto the baseball field. He said his strategy was to “get low” and hide behind the first base dugout.
The Michigan congressman said he could not see the gunman as the incident occurred because he appeared to shoot from outside the locked gates.
“The good news is that the shooter could not get onto the field because the gates were locked behind a chain-link fence,” Bergman said.
Rep. Mike Bishop, (R-Mich.)
Bishop said he heard the “ping, ping, ping” as the gunman opened fire on the field.
The congressman told Detroit radio station WJR that he is “convinced [the gunman] was hunting us because he was perfectly placed to take shots.”
— WJR 760am (@wjrradio) June 14, 2017