Majority Whip Steve Scalise crawled toward outfield after he was shot, Sen. Rand Paul says

Sen. Paul: 'We decided to make a run for it'
Posted at 11:31 AM, Jun 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-14 19:37:15-04

Taking cover behind a tree, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said he could see dirt fly as bullets skipped off of the warning track of the baseball field.

Paul was near the batting cage in right field at a congressional baseball practice Wednesday morning when a gunman opened fire at Republican members of Congress and their staffers.

Majority Whip Steve Scalise was standing at second base when he was shot, Paul said.

“Steve Scalise, Representative Scalise, was at second base … so he goes down but is moving and is crawling toward the outfield,” Paul said.

In a Wednesday afternoon news conference, President Donald Trump said the suspected shooter, James T. Hodgkinson, died from his injuries. 

The shooting happened as Republican members of Congress were getting ready for the annual Congressional Baseball Game, which was scheduled for Thursday in Washington.

Cincinnati Rep. Brad Wenstrup, who is a doctor by trade, administered aid to Scalise, according to Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, who spoke to reporters Wednesday morning.

MORE: Wenstrup aided Majority Whip who was shot

At least five people were taken to hospitals from the incident, according to Alexandria Police Chief Michael Brown.

The shooter is in police custody, according to CNN. He was taken to a hospital after the shooting.

The first shot was an isolated shot, Paul said, but “it was pretty loud and pretty close.”

“After that we heard a succession of shots -- five, 10, 15 shots in a row,” Paul said.

Paul said he thought the shots were coming from the third base line, but he was unsure of the location of the shooter or how many people could be behind weapons.

“I couldn’t see the shooter, but I wasn’t positive, ‘Am I standing on the right side of the tree or the wrong side of the tree?’ And I’m looking around trying to determine if there’s one shooter or two shooters,” Paul said.

He said he noticed one of the staffers had been hit in right field, and he asked another staff member if he wanted “to try to get out.”

“And all of a sudden he was up, and he was over the 20-foot fence in about two seconds,” Paul said. “I’ve never seen anybody climb a fence that fast in my life.”

The shots stopped at one point, as if the gunman was reloading, but more shots rang out shortly after the pause, Paul said.

“I felt like ... my instinct was that he was moving, and that he could just move around the entire field and shoot everybody,” Paul said. “At that point, we decided to make a run for it.

“He was hitting the dirt around us out in right field, so it was a risk to stay and a risk to go, but we chose to go ahead and make a run for it, and we had to climb a couple more fences at that point to get out.”

In a Wednesday news conference, Tim Slater, FBI special agent in charge, said the incident will be investigated with “state and local partners.”

Slater said it is too early to tell if the shooting was an assassination attempt or an act of terrorism.