WASHINGTON — Both sides on Capitol Hill are praising members of the Capitol Hill Police for their heroic actions in the aftermath of a shooting at a baseball practice field early Wednesday morning in which several people, including Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., were injured.
Majority Whip Scalise was shot in the hip by a man wielding a rifle who fired as many as 50 rounds at Republican lawmakers during GOP practice for the congressional baseball game. Congressional staffers and Capitol Hill police were also among those shot.
“They were yelling at the congressman, telling him not to move. And there must have been 50 to 100 shots fired,” recalled Noah Nathan, who lives in the area.
He told CBN News that as soon as he heard the shots he hit the ground.
“Yeah the bullets were hitting off the gravel hitting near the fence. I was just trying to get as flat as I could,” he said.
Eventually, a member of the security detail “took the shooter down.”
Meanwhile, just behind second base is where Congressman Scalise was shot in the hip. He was crawling out to the outfield. Once the gunman was in custody a number of people did come to his rescue, including two congressman.
Eyewitness Dave Miller told CBN News, “You could see people running from the baseball field, running across the street for shelter. So we started shouting out at them, ‘Come here, come here! Get inside the building!’ Five or 6 people ran in.”
As the gun fire continued, Miller tried to get those in need through his door and up to the second floor.
“This a bad day for Alexandria,” Miller said. “Obviously they were all physically okay. But there was a lot of emotion running through their veins, a lot of fear, a lot of anxiety.”
U.S. Capitol Police Chief Matthew Verderosa praised his officers assigned to protect Scalise as well as Alexandria Police responding to the scene. “Our officers acted heroically today,” said Chief Verderosa. “They are all in good condition and look for rapid recovery.”
Meanwhile, local pastors showed up to provide prayer and support — pastors like Christopher Esget with Immanuel Lutheran Church.
“We can have difference of opinion on various political topics, but violence should never be part of that,” he said.
On Capitol Hill, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., thanked the law enforcement officers who risked their lives by name.
“An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us,” he said. “We are all praying for those who were attacked and their families. Steve Scalise, Zack Barth, Matt Mika, Special Agent David Bailey, Special Agent Krystal Grinner.”
The investigation into the shooting is being handled by the FBI.