- ‘The gunman was there to kill as many Republican members as possible.’
Senator Rand Paul, who was not hurt, said that without the armed officers, all of those targeted would have died: ‘Had they not been there, it would have been a massacre. As terrible as it is, it could have been a lot worse.
- ‘The only reason why any of us walked out of this thing, by the grace of God, one of the folks here had a weapon to fire back and give us a moment to find cover.
The gunman who opened fire on a Republican congressional baseball practice session on Wednesday morning, injuring four people including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, has been named as James T. Hodgkinson.
The shooter from Belleville, Illinois, fired up to 100 rounds from a high powered rifle from the third base dugout at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in Alexandria, Virginia, as the group practiced batting at around 7:00 a.m.
He was eventually shot by two U.S. Capitol Police officers who were accompanying Scalise. They were both wounded as they exchanged gunfire.
Hodgkinson,who was named by CBS News, is now in custody and undergoing treatment at a local hospital.
A congressional staffer for Texas Rep. Roger Williams was also shot. Senator Rand Paul, who was at the scene but was not injured, described it as a ‘killing field.’
A man thought to be the shooter asked if the group were Republicans or Democrats before opening fire, Florida Rep. Ron DeSantis said. North Carolina Rep. Mike Walker told NBC News the ‘gunman was there to kill as many Republican members as possible.’
Michigan Rep. Mike Bishop described how one man – thought to be part of Scalise’s Capitol Police protection detail – stood his ground to return fire as the congressmen and at least one of their children dove for cover in a dugout and Scalise dragged himself across the field after being hit, leaving a trail of blood behind
He told CBS Detroit: ‘As we were standing here this morning, a gunman walked up to the fence line and just began to shoot. I was standing at home plate and he was in the third base line. He had a rifle that was clearly meant for the job of taking people out, multiple casualties, and he had several rounds and magazines that he kept unloading and reloading.’
He said: ‘The only reason why any of us walked out of this thing, by the grace of God, one of the folks here had a weapon to fire back and give us a moment to find cover.’
‘We were inside the backstop and if we didn’t have that cover by a brave person who stood up and took a shot themselves, we would not have gotten out of there and every one of us would have been hit — every single one of us.
‘He was coming around the fence line and he was looking for all of us who had found cover in different spots. But if we didn’t have return fire right there, he would have come up to each one of us and shot us point-blank.’
The group was practicing for a charity match which is due to take place on Thursday at Nationals Park when they were attacked. Three men escaped and took shelter in an apartment building nearby.
The gunman, who reportedly used an M4 rifle, opened fire as all the men stood on the field. Most dove for cover in a dugout while Scalise was dropped by his wound
…’There was a blood trail about 10 to 15 yards long from where he was shot to wear he crawled to right field,’ he told CNN.
Brooks caught a brief glimpse of the shooter and described him as a white, middle-aged male. He said he described him as being ‘a little on the chubby side’ but not obese. No more information about him is being offered by police.
Scalise, as a member of the House leaderhsip, was the only one in the group who had been accompanied by a Capitol Police security detail.
Senator Rand Paul, who was not hurt, said that without the armed officers, all of those targeted would have died
‘Had they not been there, it would have been a massacre. As terrible as it is, it could have been a lot worse.