Injuries Reported After GOP Baseball Practice Shooting

Jun 14, 2017
Originally published on June 14, 2017 10:57 am
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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We are getting reports this morning of a shooting just outside Washington, D.C. A gunman opened fire on a group of Republican lawmakers and staffers who were practicing for a charity baseball game in Arlington, Va., this morning. Congressman Steve Scalise was shot and is in stable condition. Several others were injured. Mo Brooks is a congressman from Alabama. Here's how he described the scene on CNN.

(SOUNDBITE OF CNN BROADCAST)

MO BROOKS: About to hit batting practice and I hear a loud blam. And I look around, and behind third base in the third-base dugout, I see a rifle. And then I hear another blam, and I realize that there's an active shooter. At the same time, I hear Steve Scalise scream that he was shot. The gun was a semiautomatic. It continues to fire.

MARTIN: That shooting in Alexandria, Va., this morning - and that was Congressman Mo Brooks speaking on CNN this morning.

We're joined now by NPR's Tamara Keith. Tamara, what can you tell us at this point?

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Well, I can tell you that the Alexandria Police are saying that there is a suspect in custody and that that person is not a threat at this point. Five people were wounded, according to Mo Brooks. We don't have exact numbers yet. Of course, this is a breaking news situation, and things change. Brooks said that Scalise,; a congressional staffer; two law enforcement officers and another law enforcement officer, who was either Capitol Police or some other protective detail, was also injured.

MARTIN: I want to turn now to Katie Fillus. She was at that baseball practice. She is - was an eyewitness to what happened this morning. Katie, are you there?

KATIE FILLUS: Hi. I'm here.

MARTIN: Can you tell us what you saw?

FILLUS: Sure. I was getting out of my car with my dogs - there's a dog park close to the baseball field. And as I started walking towards the park, somebody from the baseball team started screaming, lay flat on the ground. And I heard really, really loud pops very close to me. So I started crying and laid flat on the ground with my dogs. And the baseball team was huddled behind a large tree that was maybe 10 feet from me. And we all laid flat and the pops got louder. So I think the shooter was coming across the baseball field towards everyone. And the security person stepped out of a Suburban and had a handgun and yelled, drop your weapon. And the person shot that guard, and he or she fell in front of us.

MARTIN: Did - you saw that happen?

FILLUS: Yes. It was right in front of me as I was laying on the ground. And I crawled on my stomach with my dogs to the sidewalk 'cause the car was parked there. And I shoved them and myself as much under the car as I could and laid there till police came and, I guess, got him or stopped the shooting.

MARTIN: Obviously, this is an unfolding situation, Katie. I mean, where are you right now?

FILLUS: I just - I was in the crime scene speaking with the police. And I'm now out of it - just trying to get myself and my dogs back home.

MARTIN: And you gave your statement to the police, obviously.

FILLUS: I did, yes.

MARTIN: I want to bring in Tamara Keith again. Tamara, obviously, there were people who were just bystanders to this event, let alone the people who were at that baseball game - that baseball practice. This is something that happens yearly, this baseball game?

KEITH: Yeah. So - and the game is supposed to be tomorrow night in the Nationals' ballpark. It's a charity baseball game. When she says that the baseball team was huddled behind a tree, that baseball team are members of Congress, this - Republican members of Congress. It's Republicans versus Democrats. So these - the people who are involved here are Republican members of Congress, their staffs and the people who were there to protect them. Steve Scalise, who was shot, is the No. 3 Republican in the House of Representatives. He does have a protective detail who travels with him.

MARTIN: Some have suggested on Twitter this morning that the only reason the Capitol Police were even at that baseball practice is because Congressman Scalise is - was there, that that detail travels with him.

KEITH: Yes, it travels with him. The highest-ranking members of Congress have details that travel with them. Often, members of Congress go about their daily lives or go to practice and don't have a protective detail with them. You know, this - they practice on a regular basis. They get together. They practice baseball, all preparing for this big game in the Nationals Park that's a very big fundraiser - a charitable fundraiser, that is. And, you know, it's just very shocking to be at baseball practice...

MARTIN: Yeah.

KEITH: ...Not expecting to be in - and in a very nice neighborhood in Alexandria, no less.

MARTIN: Do we know anything more about the man responsible for this, the suspect?

KEITH: We don't have any details about that person at this time, except to say that the Alexandria Police say that the suspect is in custody and not a threat anymore.

MARTIN: Again, if you're just joining us, we're getting reports of a shooting outside Washington, D.C., in Alexandria, Va. Several people have been shot, including Congressman Steve Scalise, who was reportedly shot in the hip and is now in stable condition. And Tamara, at least a couple other staffers have been shot at this point, we're hearing.

KEITH: That is what we're hearing. Most of this is coming from Congressman Mo Brooks, who appeared on CNN. He was there, and he described the scene. He described applying a tourniquet to someone. This is a very frightening scene. I can also just add that Press Secretary Sean Spicer says that both the president and Mike Pence are aware of this and are watching and paying attention and following the updates.

MARTIN: Obviously, this is a breaking news story, and we will continue to bring you details as we learn them. Again, there has been a shooting outside of Washington, D.C. This happened at a congressional baseball practice ahead of a charity game that was scheduled to happen tomorrow. At least several Republican staffers have been shot. We don't have exact numbers. We do know that Congressman Steve Scalise, the No. 3 in Congress, has been shot - in the House. He has been shot in the hip, although he is in stable condition. We can also tell you that the suspect in this shooting has been arrested and is in police custody.

We heard from an eyewitness to the shooting this morning and also NPR's Tamara Keith with the details. Thank you so much, Tamara.

KEITH: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.