Emotional eyewitnesses, lawmakers recount Alexandria shooting

There were many eyewitness accounts to the shooting outside the Alexandria, Virginia ballpark on Wednesday.

There were many eyewitness accounts to the shooting outside the Alexandria, Virginia ballpark on Wednesday.

James Hodgkinson, 66, opened fire on members of the GOP Congressional baseball team as they practiced for a charity game. He was shot by a wounded police officer and later died.

Related: Suspect killed after Steve Scalise, 4 others shot at baseball practice

Around 2 to 3 dozen people were also on the field at the time.

“All of the sudden we heard a very loud shot and everybody thought that sounds like a gun,” said a witness. “The gunman was over by the third base dugout with a clear view of the field and everyone on it and then all of the sudden a couple more shots and we knew what it was.”

They were forced to find cover. 

“And I just remember seeing some gravel bounce up as shots were coming near us, and so we climbed into the dugout,” said a witness.

Texas Congressman Joe Barton recounted for reporters what he witnessed during the shooting. He is the manager of the Republican team that was practicing for a charity congressional baseball game.

Related: Texas Rep. Joe Barton, son witnessed shooting at Virginia baseball field

“The shooter was not on the field and never got on the field,” said Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas. “He stayed behind the third base dugout, came around behind home plate, got behind the utility shed and then darted out in front of the utility shed and that's when he got shot.”

Barton said the real heroes were law enforcement.

"The heroes are the police officers who attacked the shooter and in doing so quite probably saved many, many lives,” said Barton. 

House GOP Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana was shot in the hip, his office said in a statement. The other people shot include the gunman, Capitol Police Special Agent Crystal Griner, lobbyist Matt Mika and Zack Barth, a staffer for Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas.

Related: Houston man wounded in Alexandria shooting

“It was at least 10 minutes because we were applying pressure to one of the staffers shot in the leg and we got a belt out and put that on,” said a witness. “We could see Steve Scalise out in the field. He dragged himself after he had been shot from near second base about 10 to 15 yards into the field just to be further away from the gunman; he was lying motionless out there.”

Barton was at the ballpark with his sons.

“There were dozens if not hundreds of shots fired; it was scary,” said Barton. “My son Jack got under an SUV; he was very brave. My other son Brad was in the batting cage, and he also was very brave.”

The shooting came as a complete shock. The team was taking batting practice when the gunshots rang out and chaos erupted.

VIDEO: Witness captures Alexandria shooting on cell phone

“I never thought I'd be out here practicing baseball for a charity game where we raised over $600,000 for local D.C. charities and have to dodge bullets,” said Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill.

Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn, also witnessed the shooting and teared up when speaking about it.

“We have great values. We represent great people every day, in this country, on both sides of the aisle,” said Fleischmann. “And I just hope and pray that we see better days for America." 

© 2017 KHOU-TV


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