WASHINGTON – They were “sitting ducks” said Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.
“It would have been a massacre,” Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., told CNN after a gunman opened fire on Republican lawmakers at a softball practice early Wednesday morning in Alexandria, Virginia, just across the Potomac River from the nation’s capital.
“Nobody would have survived without the Capitol Hill police,” said Paul.
House Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., two Capitol police officers and three others are recovering from gunshot wounds after a gunman exchanged an estimated 50 shots with police.
The gun battle apparently lasted about 10 minutes, with the two Capitol Police officers drawing the gunman’s fire until Alexandria Police arrived to join the battle just a few minutes after it began.
Alexandria police tweeted: “Suspect is in custody and not a threat.”
Scalise “was hit in the hip and should be OK,” according to a senior member of GOP leadership. Another person was wounded in the chest. His condition and identity is not yet known.
A staffer was shot in the calf. A congressional aide said Scalise was in stable condition at George Washington University Hospital.
A source told WND the only reason there was a Capitol Police security detail at the event is because Scalise is a member of the GOP leadership team.
Sen. Jeff Flake speaks about congressional baseball game shooting:
Witnesses say the there is no doubt the gunman targeted the lawmakers deliberately after first asking if they were Democrats or Republicans.
“It sure as heck wasn’t an accident,” said Rep. Mo Brook, R-Ala., who said the shooter fired at least 50 shots from a semi-automatic rifle.
“All the people on the field scattered,” he added.
“My adrenaline is raging and of course it’s not never easy to take when people around you are getting shot,” Brooks said.
Sen. Rand Paul describes shooting that injured Rep. Scalise:
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., told CNN he saw one of Scalise’s security detail return fire on the gunman “for what felt like 10 minutes,” even though that officer was wounded in the leg.
“50 (shots) would be an understatement, I’m quite sure,” Flake said.
Flake said that after Scalise dragged himself away from the shooting, and once they were able, he and Rep. Brad Wenstrup, a physician, went out to where Scalise was lying to apply pressure to the wound.
Scalise was conscious the whole time, Flake said.
“The vice president and I are aware of the shooting incident in Virginia and are monitoring developments closely,” President Donald Trump said in a statement. “We are deeply saddened by this tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the members of Congress, their staffs, Capitol Police, first responders, and all others affected.”
More to come …