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Eyewitness Account and Video from Republican Baseball Practice Shooting

06-15-2017
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An eyewitness to the Wednesday morning attack on congressional Republicans practicing baseball says it happened quietly at first but fast.

The injured include Congressman Steve Scalise, a Louisiana Republican; Zachary Barth, legislative correspondent for Rep. Roger Williams of Texas; U.S. Capitol Police special agents David Bailey and Crystal Griner and lobbyist Matt Mika.

Noah Nathan was in the area walking his dog and hit the ground after hearing shots. He gave CBN News permission to broadcast video he captured on his mobile phone depicting the lone gunman firing shots at a suburban Washington, D.C., baseball field.

The audio is disturbing, offering a glimpse into the initial panic as the group of Republicans were practicing at Simpson Field in Alexandria ahead of Thursday’s Congressional Baseball Game.

Nathan told CBN’s Erik Rosales at first he was unsure what he was hearing.

"I thought it was fireworks, and then I heard another one and then I saw some of the players just scurrying around,” he said. “So I just got down."

The gunfire lasted for several minutes, and Nathan shielded himself behind a trashcan just as bullets started whizzing by.

“They were hitting off the gravel, hitting near the fence,” he recounted. "I was just trying to get as flat as I could. Because at first, I didn't know where the shooters where."

Then Nathan grabbed his phone and started recording.

"I saw the police yelling at him. The players running off yelling at the congressman telling him not to move,” Nathan described. “It was almost like a movie – like a sniper. Don't move or he's going to shoot you again."

The video shows Scalise lying on the ground after being struck by the gunman.

It also captures the moment when police moved in and stopped Hodgkinson, allowing others to rush to Scalise’s aid.

Nathan also said the event was "unreal."

Late Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence's office reported he had been speaking with the victims.

Earlier in the day, President Trump said he spoke with the wife of injured Congressman Steve Scalise, a Republican from Louisiana. 

Scalise underwent surgery for a gunshot wound to the hip and was in critical condition. The bullet reportedly injured organs as well. Mika, who was also a former congressional aide, is in critical condition with multiple wounds. Bailey and Barth are expected to recover fully.

Members of Congress credited the Capitol police officers with shooting the gunman and preventing what could have been a massacre. The shooter died in the hospital.

The attacker was identified as James T. Hodgkinson, a Belleville, Ill., home inspector who is thought to have been in Alexandria since March, with no work, living in his white cargo van and frequenting the YMCA next to the field.
  
Hodgkinson had a history of arrests, including one for resisting police and for drunk driving. His Facebook page shows a post of him angrily speaking out against Republicans. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said on the Senate floor that Hodgkinson apparently was a volunteer for his campaign last year. Sanders condemned the attack.

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