A visibly shaken Senator Joe Barton (R-TX), still in his baseball uniform and accompanied by his young son Jack, spoke to reporters about the chaos that erupted when a shooter opened fire on the Republican congressional baseball team’s practice this morning. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was shot along with four other people before a combination of Scalise’s security detail and Alexandra, Virginia police shot and captured the assailant.
“A shooter came out to practice, started shooting,” Barton told CBS News reporters. “He shot at Trent Kelly our third baseman, Steve Scalise, our second basemen. He hit Steve Scalise.”
The attack began abruptly when the shooter walked onto the practice field. Barton estimates the attack lasted “five to ten minutes… there were dozens if not hundreds of shots fired. It was scary.” Congressmen, staffers, and security were trying to take cover wherever they could — in the dugout, on the ground, or under nearby vehicles — the latter being where Barton’s son Jack hid. His other son, Brad Barton, sheltered in the batting cage. Other eyewitness accounts indicate the shooter had enough time to reload his weapon as the congressmen were “screaming for help.”
Barton had to pause to collect himself as he described the moment when security and police entered the fray. “Scalise’s security detail and Capitol Hill police immediately began to return fire,” said Barton, with some difficulty. “The Alexander police also immediately came and began to return fire.”
Thanks to the swift response of law enforcement, no one but the shooter was killed. The shooter has been identified as James T. Hodgkinson of St. Louis. In addition to Scalise, two Capitol Hill police officers were shot, as was Matt Mika, 38, a former Congressional staffer and the director of government relations for the Washington office of Tyson Foods. Other casualties have not yet been identified, nor have their medical conditions been released.
“I think the security detail saved a lot of lives because they attacked the shooter,” said Barton. “So the heroes are the Capitol Hill police, Alexander police, and Steve Scalise’s security detail.”