Scalise Among Shooting Victims at GOP Baseball Practice

Scalise Among Shooting Victims at GOP Baseball Practice
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Republican Rep. Steve Scalise was shot Wednesday morning during practice for the congressional baseball team, according to multiple reports.

The shooting occurred just after 7 a.m. at a baseball diamond in Alexandria, Va., several miles from the U.S. Capitol. Five individuals were taken to local hospitals, according to the Alexandria chief of police. Congressional staffers and members of Scalise’s security detail may also have been shot, according to reports, though exact details were not immediately clear.

Republican Sen. Jeff Flake told CBS News that Scalise’s security detail shot the gunman, who had fired as many as 50 or 60 shots from a rifle. 

Flake, who was on the field at the time of the shooting, said he was the first to reach Scalise along with Rep. Brad Wenstrup, a podiatrist, and that they applied pressure to his wound.

“He was coherent the whole time,” Flake told CBS.

Rep. Mo Brooks, who was on the field when the shooting occurred, said the House majority whip was shot in the hip but said he did not think it was "a life-threatening wound."

"We're seeing our colleague, as we're under fire; he's lying on the ground, but there's not a whole lot you can do," Brooks said on CNN. "It was distressing knowing the position he was in. He was shot in the hip, I think it was not a life-threatening wound ... but there was a blood trail about 10-15 yards long from where he was shot to where he crawled into right field."

The whip's office issued a statement Wednesday morning saying that Scalise was in surgery but stable, and that the Louisiana congressman spoke to his wife before entering surgery. The statement added that no votes are expected in the House Wednesday in light of the incident.

Multiple hearings and press conferences around the Capitol have also been cancelled.

Alexandria Police Chief Michael L. Brown said the shots were fired at 7:09 a.m. and that police were on the scene three minutes later. Five individuals were taken to local hospitals, according to the chief.

Sen. Rand Paul told MSNBC he was in the batting cage on the third base line at the time of the incident. He said he heard one shot, followed by a rapid succession of others.

“In the field, I see Representative Scalise is shot but moving. He’s trying to drag himself through the dirt out into the outfield,” Paul said.

He added that two staffers were in the outfield lying on the ground as shots landed around them. One staffer jumped a fence and hid behind a tree with Paul, the senator said. He said it was difficult to tell where the shots were coming from, but estimated he heard at least 50 or 60 shots, and it appeared they came from the third base line. Paul said Capitol Police officers shot the gunman.

“Had they not been there, it would have been a massacre,” Paul said on CNN. “The field was basically a killing field.”

Several members who left practice before the shooting reported to police that they encountered a man while leaving who asked whether it was Republicans or Democrats at the practice. They were unsure whether the same man was the shooter.

“I don’t want to say that it was definitely him,” Rep. Ron DeSantis told Fox News. “We reported our encounter and we understand that it may fit the description of the guy. I don’t know it was him for sure. We did have an encounter with someone who wanted to know whether they were Republicans or Democrats. I think it’s important for someone to have that information and they can do what they want with it.”

“This is just a field. You can go. There are bleachers, parking lot. You pull in. Anyone can go and watch, do whatever. It’s a wide open space,” DeSantis said.

President Trump sent a statement saying he and Vice President Pence were aware of the shooting and were following developments closely.

“We are deeply saddened by this tragedy,” Trump said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the members of Congress, their staffs, Capitol Police, first responders, and all others affected.”

James Arkin is a congressional reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at jarkin@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @JamesArkin.

Rebecca Berg is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at rberg@realclearpolitics.com.

 

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