The Republican lawmakers and their aides had nearly finished batting practice at an Alexandria park Wednesday when they heard a single crack through the sticky early-morning air. For a moment, the field went quiet as they wondered what the noise was.
“He’s got a gun!” someone shouted.
Then came a torrent of bullets, and there, behind a chain-link fence near third base, was a man with a rifle.
One round hit Steve Scalise, the majority whip from Louisiana, in the hip, dropping him to the ground. He screamed and then dragged himself to the grass outfield as a trail of blood streaked the dirt.
“Hit the ground!” people yelled.
Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., who was holding a bat and waiting to hit, briefly hid before diving into the first-base dugout, where about a dozen people had taken cover. Inside, he found Zack Barth, a legislative aide who, after being struck in the leg, had hobbled all the way across the field.
“It’s not bad,” Barth assured him.
“Dude, you’ve got a hole in your calf,” Brooks responded, before cinching a tourniquet above the wound.
The 10-year-old son of Rep. Joe Barton, Texas, who coaches the GOP congressional baseball team, dove for cover under an SUV. Some of the 20 or so people at the field sprinted into the nearby dog park as others leapt a fence and fled. All around, bullets whistled overhead and ricocheted off the ground, spraying bits of gravel into the air.
“It was bedlam,” Brooks said.
By then, Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., had already hidden behind a wooden shack beyond the…
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