- Cliff Owen/AP
House Majority Whip Steven Scalise was one of several people injured in a shooting Wednesday morning at a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia.
Shortly afterward, members of Congress who attended the practice talked to media outlets to recount what they had witnessed.
Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama told CNN he saw at least five people who were injured in the shooting, one of whom he assisted by using his belt as a tourniquet.
He described the shooter as a white, somewhat heavyset man armed with some sort of semiautomatic weapon. Brooks talked to CNN about the moment he heard the shooting.
“I look around, and behind third base in the third base dugout, which is cinder block, I see a rifle,” Brooks said. “And I see a little bit of a body and then I hear another ‘blam’ and I realize that there’s an active shooter. At the same time I hear Steve Scalise over near second base scream that he was shot.”
Brooks said the shooter continued to fire and people in the field scattered.
“I run around to the first base side of home plate, and we have a batting cage that’s got plastic wrapped around it to stop foul balls, and hide behind the plastic,” he said. “… I’m lying on the ground with two or three others as gunfire continues.”
Rep. Mark Walker told NBC News that the “gunman was there to kill as many Republican members as possible,” adding that he was “shaken but OK.”
Rep. Ron DeSantis told Fox News he left the practice before the shooting broke out, but recalled a man approaching him and asking “whether it was Republicans or Democrats out there.”
Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky told MSNBC he had been in the batting cage when what sounded like an “isolated shot” rang out, shortly followed by a rapid succession of shots, and a chaotic scene as people scrambled for cover and attempted to ascertain where the shots were coming from.
Paul said he saw an injured Scalise attempting to drag himself through the dirt into the outfield, and shots hitting the dirt around staffers in the right field.
“It was basically a killing field,” Paul later told CNN. “Had the Capitol Police not been there, he would have walked around and shot everybody.
Paul added that were Scalise – a member of congressional leadership – not in attendance, there likely would not have been enough of a security presence to respond to the shooter.
“By him being there it probably saved everyone else’s life,” Paul said.
Scalise, as well as two Capitol Hill police officers who were shot, appear to be in stable condition, MSNBC reported.
Alexandria police said on Twitter that the suspected shooter is in custody and not a threat.