Illinois Congressman Witnessed GOP Baseball Practice Shooting
Central Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis was not hurt during the shooting of five people at a practice for the Congressional Baseball Game for Charity in Alexandria, Virginia.
Davis plays catcher on the Republican team and was interviewed on CNN still in his baseball t-shirt, with blood on his elbow and hand. The wounded GOP baseball players are in good condition.
Davis says he never thought he'd go to a baseball practice and "have to dodge bullets." He says he and other members of Congress fled the dugout as shots were fired, took shelter behind cars and then ran to a nearby apartment building to call police.
“I felt like it was an hour, when you’re running away from gunfire and also trying to make sure that your situational awareness is there, too,” Davis said.
A government official said the suspect in the shooting has been identified as an Illinois man named James T. Hodgkinson of Belleville. The Chicago Tribune reports that government official was not supposed to discuss the investigation and only would talk to reporters anonymously.
President Donald Trump says Hodgkinson died after a shootout with congressional security workers.
House Speaker Paul Ryan named the following injured GOP members and agents in his address today:
- Steve Scalise
- Zachary Barth
- Matt Mika
- Special Agent David Bailey
- Special Agent Crystal Griner
Davis credits U.S. Capitol Police officers for their quick response to take down the suspect, saying it "would have been a massacre" had they not been there.
Police have not said whether the shooter was intentionally targeting members of Congress. Davis says he doesn't think it's a coincidence that there were no bullets fired outside of the baseball field.
“I have just as many friends on the Democrats’ side of the aisle; the majority of what we do in Washington is bipartisan,” Davis said. “The disagreements over major policy issues are what make America great, but it’s the political hate and rhetoric that we’ve seen […] that has got to stop.”
Illinois U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, both Democrats, issued statements saying they wish speedy recoveries for the victims of the shooting. Other Illinois politicians including Gov. Bruce Rauner, U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren and U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos.
The Belleville News-Democrat reports Hodgkinson was part of multiple anti-Republican groups on Facebook, including ones called "The Road to Hell is Paved by Republicans" and "Terminate the Republican Party." Neighbors said that they knew Hodgkinson was a hard-core Democrat, but they thought he seemed like a nice enough guy from the limited interactions they had with him.
- Illinois Public Radio's Charlie Schlenker contributed to this report.