U.S. Sen. Rand Paul is safe after a shooting at a Congressional baseball practice in northern Virginia. Five people were reportedly shot, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana. Scalise is reported to be stable.
On MSNBC Wednesday, Paul said he was in a batting cage at the time that shots rang out at the practice, which took place in advance of the annual Congressional baseball game on Friday.
“In the field I see Rep. Scalise is shot but moving and he’s trying to drag himself through the dirt out into the outfield,” Paul said.
“There are two staffers in right field, only about 10 feet from me but there’s about a 20-foot fence separating me from them. And they were laying down but then I’m seeing the shots hitting the dirt around them.”
Paul said he heard 50-60 shots from what sounded like an AR-15 rifle, but couldn’t identify the shooter.
Capitol Police returned fire according to Paul’s account. He said the police were only there because Scalise’s is a top member of the House.
“If Scalise wouldn’t have been on our team — unfortunately he was hit I hope he does well — but also by him being there he probably saved everybody else’s life because if you don’t have a leadership person there, there would’ve been no security there,” Paul said.
“We’re actually very lucky they were there. They do a great job; these are brave men and women and we were really lucky they were there.”
Rep. James Comer, whose district includes southern and western Kentucky, was not at the practice.
“My & TJ’s thoughts & prayers are with @SteveScalise. I am not on the Congressional Baseball Team, so I was not where the shootings occurred,” Comer tweeted on Wednesday morning.
Late Wednesday morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made a statement on the Senate floor.
“We’re grateful for all those who stepped in to help — those practicing on the field, first responders and of course the Capitol Police officers on the scene,” McConnell said. “We’re deeply indebted for their service. We again salute their continuing and unfailing bravery on behalf of the Capitol community.”
Rep. Hal Rogers tweeted the following statement:
“Thoughts & prayers for my friend @SteveScalise, the Capitol Police & staff affected by the shooting. I’m grateful for our brave officers.”
Rep. Andy Barr issued the following statement:
“Carol and I offer our thoughts and prayers to my good friend House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, his wife Jennifer and their children, as well as to my other colleagues, the staff members and law enforcement officers affected by this morning’s shooting and to their families. We pray for their full and speedy recovery.
“I am grateful today and always for the brave service of the Capitol Hill Police and all law enforcement officers who dedicate their lives to keeping us safe.”
Rep. John Yarmuth also tweeted out that he was safe:
“My staff and I are all safe. Thinking of my colleagues, Capitol Police officers, & all involved in this horrific incident,” Yarmuth tweeted.
Also via Twitter, Rep. Brett Guthrie offered prayers for Scalise and praised Capitol Police:
“I am deeply horrified by what happened this morning. Steve is a good friend of mine. Praying for him and everyone affected. I want to thank U.S. Capitol Police for apprehending the shooter this morning. I have always known them to be heroic & they proved it today,” Guthrie tweeted.
On his Facebook page, Rep. Thomas Massie called for prayers for the wounded:
President Donald Trump issued the following statement:
“The Vice President and I are aware of the shooting incident in Virginia and are monitoring developments closely. 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.”
This story has been updated.