As a gunman opened fire on Republican congressmen this morning while they practiced for a bipartisan baseball charity game tomorrow at the Nationals’ field, Congressmen, their staff and even some family were sent scurrying. Among those on the field at the time of the shooting were Majority Whip Steve Scalise, Senator Rand Paul, Sen Jeff Flake, Rep Mo Brooks, and others. However, some stories have been coming out regarding the actions of the Capitol Police, and even Senators who fled to the side of the injured, or the assailant while it was still taking place. Aside from the bravery of the two Capitol Police who ran into the fire and engaged the gunman, both taking hits themselves, Congressmen found themselves tested at the moment while it all unfolded.
In an interview with CNN’s John King, a now-cleaned and suited up Sen Jeff Flake (R-AZ) told how earlier, his baseball gloves were ruined by tending to Rep. Steve Scalise’s gunshot wound, with blood all over the ground as they crawled to the side of the field to escape gunfire.
After initially hearing a single gunshot from behind a fence by the parking lot, Flake explained, “I stood up, and the gunman was there… and he caught sight of where I was. So, a bunch of us jumped down so as not to be in the line of fire, because he had a line of sight to us, and a number of us were there and we were worried he would make his way around and get in the dugout, and then we’d be in a really bad situation.”
King asked, “did you see[the shooter] taken down?” Flake responded, “no, we were tending to the staff member, and also Joe Barton’s son (Jack), a ten year old was there, he made it to the dugout as well. We quickly got him, and put under the bench and tried to hide him as much as we could.” Flake then explained they weren’t sure if the gunfire was from Scalise’s security detail, the gunman, or even a second assailant.
He continued, “then, we heard ‘the gunman is down!’ And that’s when I ran out to Steve to see if we could staunch the bleeding there, and for the next ten or fifteen minutes we did that.”
Flake told of the grisly details of approaching Scalise while still unsure if all was safe. “You could see where [Steve] had crawled from, across some of the infield, the trail of blood to where he was. He had moved about ten to fifteen yards. Great effort to do that. I think he was trying to get away from the gunman. He said he needed water. He was coherent. We tried to keep him talking, to make sure he stayed coherent. We cut away some of the jersey and whatnot and tried to apply something to the wound. I had my batting gloves on, and those are pretty blood-soaked now. We were looking for more blood, tried to find an exit wound… someone took off their shirt to put it on the wound… we ended up needing a belt.”
Scalise’s bleeding was stopped, and was able to recover enough to be listed “critical condition” at the hospital later on.
Video from a woman’s phone recording of the shots can be heard HERE.