What Witnesses Saw When Gunfire Struck A Congressional Baseball Practice

Cheryl Sanders
June 15, 2017

A man wielding a rifle opened fire on lawmakers and staff at a baseball practice just outside the U.S. capital early Wednesday, wounding a top Republican congressman and several others. The gunman was taken into custody and later died of his injuries. During his remarks, Trump disclosed that the shooter had died, the first confirmation from any official of the death.

Hodgkinson, who was 66, was fatally shot by police.

A government official identified the shooter as an IL man named James.

Police initially tweeted that the suspect was among five people transported to the hospital, though Alexandria Police Chief Michael Brown later refused to confirm that. They included the gunman, according to the Washington Post.

Here's how witnesses - from members of Congress to a passerby - describe the attack, in conversations with Morning Edition and with NPR's Jessica Taylor, who spent the day reporting from the scene of the attack. The other wounded included a congressional staffer and two members of the Capitol Police who were assigned to guard Scalise.

U.S. Capitol Police officers are being widely praised for helping to stop the attack.

"They risked their lives to save ours", Brooks said.

Hodgkinson has been in the area since March, living out of his van, said Washington FBI Special Agent In Charge Tim Slater.

The shooting occurred one day before the Republican team is scheduled to play in the annual Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park.

"Brooks told CNN in an interview immediately after the attack that, ". a Capitol security guy who had already been shot, who had helped take down the shooter, came limping over to us in the outfield, totally ignoring his own wounds to check on the person he was primarily responsible for - Steve Scalise being a part of the House leadership team". "He will recover from this assault, and Steve, I want you to know that you have the prayers, not only of the entire city behind you, but of an entire nation and frankly, the entire world".

"And we all laid flat, and the pops got louder - so I think the shooter was coming across the baseball field towards everyone. It was saddening. And there were a lot of shots - easily 30 to 50, maybe more". Two Capitol Police officers sustained relatively minor injuries. And having no self-defense, the field was basically a killing field. Republican Rep. Jeff Duncan believes the shooter specifically targeted the baseball practice in Alexandria because it was the Republican team.

Davis said the congressional game was a great demonstration that Democrats and Republicans could still get along. A government official says Hodgkinson is the suspect in the Virginia shooting that injured Rep. Steve Scalise and several others.

Earlier Wednesday, Scalise's office said the congressman was in stable condition, good spirits, and expressed gratitude for the actions of the Capitol Police officers who were part of his security detail at the baseball park.

Other reports by iNewsToday