Texas lawmakers shaken by shooting at Congressional baseball practice


Several people from Texas were caught in the middle of the shooting at a Congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia.

The gunshots rang out around 7 a.m. Wednesday morning. Congressman Steve Scalise from Louisiana was hit in the hip and three others were injured. The gunman was killed.

Congressman Roger Williams said one of his aides was among those shot. University of Texas graduate Zach Barth was shot in the leg. He is now doing well and expected to make a full recovery.

“Please keep the member of my staff and all members of the congressional baseball team in your thoughts and prayers,” Williams said.

Williams is a former TCU baseball player who now represents a district that spans from Fort Worth to Austin. He hurt his ankle in the chaos and was treated at the scene.

Congressman Joe Barton, a North Texas representative from Ennis, was with his 10-year-old son, Jack, and his oldest son, Brad, at baseball practice. Jack was there shagging balls when the gunshots rang out and was shoved under an SUV for protection.

Joe got emotional when he thanked police for saving their lives.

“I can’t emphasize this enough,” he said. “They attacked the shooter and that saved our lives.”

Brad told FOX 4 by phone he was playing catch with his half-brother, Jack, along the first baseline when he heard gunfire coming from along third base. His brother took off towards their father before he could react.

“I was basically in a wide open space, and I just went down,” Brad said. “I just dropped onto my stomach and just started fumbling around for my cell phone. I saw Congressman Scalise. He went down, shot 90 feet from where I was.”

With gunfire going off around him, Brad said he called his wife.

“I called her because if I'm going to go out, I'd like to talk to my family,” he said. “I thought there was a real chance.”

The Bartons say the shooting only lasted a few minutes. But in that short time, several were injured.

“He was shooting through a fence into people, and then he walked down the third baseline to home plate,” Brad recalled. “He got pinned by two police officers who were there for the security detail for Congressman Scalise.”

Brad says Hodgkinson was still alive and screaming after being shot down by officers.

Rep. Scalise is expected to make a full recovery. His office said he talked to his wife on the phone and also thanked Capitol Police before going into surgery.

“Many lives would have been lost if not for the heroic actions of the two Capitol Police officers who took down the gunman despite sustaining gunshot wounds during a very, very brutal assault,” said President Donald Trump. “Our brave Capitol Police performed a challenging job with incredible skill and their sacrifice makes democracy possible.”

Trump confirmed the suspect in the attack, 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson, is now dead. All of the victims are expected to recover.

Many Texas lawmakers have been asking for prayers and support for their friends in Washington.

“My prayers are with the victims and their loved ones who were injured in today's attack at a congressional baseball practice,” Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said. “This hatred and violence has no place in America -- it flies in the face of the very democracy our nation is rooted in. I am thankful that the shooter was apprehended by law enforcement quickly, and his deadly intentions were not fully realized.”

“My prayers this morning are with my colleague, Rep. Scalise, and the other victims of this senseless and cowardly act of violence," said Rep. Kay Granger from Greenville. "I want to thank the Capitol Police who were at the park this morning for their quick response and selfless dedication. We are all Americans, and we must stand together against any attempt to divide us."

“It is horrifying to think that someone would target Members of Congress as they were practicing for a charity baseball game aimed at fostering a spirit of bipartisanship and sportsmanship,” added Rep. Marc Veasey from Fort Worth. “My thoughts and prayers remain with Congressman Scalise, the injured Congressional staffers, the Capitol Police, and first responders who sprang into action to protect all those affected.”

The Congressional baseball game is a long-standing tradition that benefits charity.

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