BY JESSICA REDWINE
Alexandria, Virginia - What started as a casual game of baseball among congressional staffers and representatives ended in bloodshed on Wednesday, June 14th. A shooter, currently believed to be in police custody, opened fire on the staffers and law enforcement present for a practice game.
Among the wounded is House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was shot in the hip while standing next to second base. He was badly injured, but is currently in stable condition. He managed to crawl to the dugout to get away from the gunman.
Other injured include a congressional aide, as yet unidentified, and two law enforcement officials who are part of Scalise’s security detail. Luckily, the quick thinking of Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, a physician and veteran of the war in Iraq, saved Scalise as he used his training to stop the bleeding and keep the man stable until help arrived. In addition, Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., reportedly used his belt as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding of the congressional staffer that had been shot in the leg. A helicopter landed on the field to take the wounded to nearby hospitals as survivors called friends and family.
Those living nearby heard the gunshots and saw people running into the parking lots, weaving between cars and sprinting away from the active shooter. One man even ran downstairs and directed a congressman into his apartment to keep him safe from the gunfire. Another resident was out walking their dog when they heard police yelling at the gunman to drop his weapon. Schools in the area were placed on lockdown until the situation was under control, although reports indicate that the man was a lone shooter with a single weapon.
Currently reports show that this was a deliberate attack. According to Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., a man had asked him in the parking lot if it was Republicans or Democrats practicing. Minutes later, the shooting started. The shooter is reported to have had a rifle with “lots of ammo” and managed to get off 50-100 shots before the security detail incapacitated him. The gunman was shot and wounded and then taken into police custody when they arrived on the scene.
Not far away from chaos, Democrats were also practicing for the annual congressional baseball game. They heard later about the events that unfolded a few miles away and many sent out messages on Twitter about the situation. Politicians across the country expressed their sincere gratitude for the Capitol Hill police for their fast response time, and condemned the actions of the reportedly politically charged shooting.
President Trump released a statement that he and VP Mike Pence were aware of the shooting, and then later Tweeted: "Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, a true friend and patriot, was badly injured but will fully recover. Our thoughts and prayers are with him.”
While police presence has increased at Capitol Hill due to the incident, the building is still open for business.