Jun 14, 2017

Eyewitness account of shooting: 'Representive Scalise goes down'

AP

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), an opthamlogist who is one of about 15 physicians in Congress, gave this account in a phone interview with "Fox & Friends":

"I was in the right-field batting cage, outside of the field, and the first thing we heard was a loud gunshot. ... I grew up in the South, so it wasn't that uncommon to hear like a shotgun go off — a random shotgun. And then we got to thinking, 'Well, guys, we're not really in the South, and we're actually in the city.' ... [N]obody really dove for the dirt with the first shot. ... [T]here was a couple of seconds [after the first shot], but then there was a succession of maybe five or 10 shots in a row, and people began to drop."
Representative [Steve] Scalise [the House majority whip, who was hit ] was out at second base, probably about 50 yards from me. But there was, in between he and I, about a 10-foot fence. So there was no way ... for me to get to where he was. ... [A]nd it was also sort of a killing field. It was wide open ... Then there's probably a burst of 50 to 60 shots ... "I'm probably 75 yards [from the gunman]. ... I was lucky in the sense that I had just been at home plate, taking batting practice, and I was was walking out, and sometimes [Sen.] Jeff Flake [R-Fla.] goes home with me, and he said, 'Can I have a ride?' I said, 'Yeah. I'm going to do one more turn in the batting cage.' So I went to the batting cage, which turns out to be the farthest point from where the shooter was. I was 20 steps from him ... [J]ust the luck of happenstance, I happened to be walking away and it was at the farthest point. "
So, when the gunshots came in rapid succession, there was a big oak tree right behind the batting cage. I thought the shots were coming from the third-base side. But it took ... another 10 or 20 shots ... and then I was still guessing that they were coming from that side. I didn't know which side of the tree to stand on. And so, inside the right-field fence there, a couple of staffers had raced around the track. But there's a 20-foot fence. I can't get to them; they can't get to me."But, at some point, you gotta decide whether to stay and if the gunman advances — you have no chance, or you gotta run. So one of the staffers quickly climbed, in about 2 seconds, climbed the 20-foot fence, hopped down beside me, and we're behind the tree. Still gunshots are ... ringing out."
Representative Scalise goes down. We can see him, but we can't get to him because really nobody could get to him until the gunman was brought down. There's probably five or 10 congressmen hunkering down in the first-base dugout. The gunman's ... behind the third-base dugout ... And so, at this point, the gunman's reloading. There's probably been 50 or 60 shots. ..."We can't really see that well, but my gut feeling was, 'I've got to stay — I've got to decide to stay or run.' And, at this point, I think he's advancing towards us. People are moving behind different buildings. ... Most everybody is closer to the gunman than I am. I'm at a distant point. ... But the staffer that made it over the fence, we were trying to decide to stay or go. And, at this point, ... the Capitol Police began returning fire."
I do believe that without the Capitol Hill Police, it would have been a massacre. ... We had no defense. ... We had no defense at all ... I think we're lucky that Scalise was there because this was his security detail. Without them, it would have been a massacre. There would have been no stopping this guy. And we were like sitting ducks. We had no place to run. ..."I was outside the ballfield in the batting cage. Everybody else was inside the fence, in the dugout. So you got a wide-open field. It's a killing field. And they've got to run to an exit. So they were hunkering down. The dugouts are somewhat submerged, so they're below ground level, trying not to get shot."
And they've got someone wounded in there, and they're applying a tourniquet in the dugout, and then they're trying then to make a decision also: Do we stay or do we go? And it's a difficult decision because ... you've got ... weapon fire coming towards you. You've gotta decide whether to stay or go."
At some point when we felt like he might be advancing towards us, we decided we were [going] to make a run for it. We ran out the right-field fence and climbed a couple fences. A staffer was driving by in a car, and we actually got in the car of a staffer who took us to the Capitol."

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