Congressman, Staffer, And Police Shot At Republican Baseball Practice In Virginia
A gunman opened fire as members of Congress were practicing at baseball fields in Alexandria, Virginia, early Wednesday morning.
Republican congressmen and their staffers were at the Eugene Simpson Stadium Park baseball fields in Alexandria when a shooter opened fire shortly after 7 a.m. local time.
A Senate staffer who was at the practice, but asked not to be identified, told BuzzFeed News that the alleged gunman asked someone there if those assembled were Republicans or Democrats. When told they were Republicans, the gunman opened fire, reloading two or three times, the staffer said.
House majority whip Steve Scalise and a staffer to Rep. Roger Williams were shot in the melee.
Scalise was shot in the hip and transported to MedStar Washington Hospital Center for surgery, his office said in a statement. He is in a stable condition.
“We ask that you keep the Whip and others harmed in this incident in your thoughts and prayers,” Scalise’s office said.
Chief Michael Brown of the Alexandria Police Department confirmed that five people were taken to hospitals for treatment, but he did not provide details about their identities or extent of injuries.
The suspect was also shot and was among those taken to a hospital.
Rep. Jeff Flake told reporters that Scalise was on second base when he was shot.
“We were doing batting practice, there were a number of members and staffers fielding,” Flake said. “Steve was on second base and we heard a very loud shot. The gunman was by the third base dugout with a clear view of the field.”
Flake said that Scalise “dragged himself about 15 yards off of there near second base on the field, laying motionless out there.”
“But we couldn’t get to him until the shooting stopped,” Flake said. “After time, another staffer ran in with a leg wound. He was shot in the leg.”
He also said that two Capitol officers — a man and a woman — were shot and one of them was airlifted to the hospital.
Congressman Roger Williams confirmed in a statement that one of his staff members was shot and “is receiving medical attention.”
Flake said he got a glimpse of the alleged gunman. He described him as a white man in his 40s or 50s with dark hair wearing a blue shirt and jeans. He said he believed the gunman had a “lot of ammo.”
Chief Brown told reporters that two of his officers returned fire.
According to reports, multiple shots were fired. Flake said “50 shots would be an understatement.”
Senator Rand Paul told CNN that after 10 shots in a row quickly rang out, “Everybody was hitting the dirt.”
“I saw Scalise go down at second base,” Paul said, adding that at least 50 or 60 shots “had been fired from the shooter.”
“I can tell you that I think with absolute certainty nobody would have survived without the Capitol Hill police,” Paul said. “They saved everybody’s life.”
The Republican baseball team holds practice every morning at 6:30 am local time at the Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in Alexandria, Williams said in his statement.