CHICAGO (CBS) — Congressman Rodney Davis, who was at the congressional baseball practice in Virginia when a gunman shot Rep. Steve Scalise and four other people, said the attack “would have been a massacre” if not for the U.S. Capitol police officers who were there.
Davis, a Republican from Taylorville, Ill., told CNN he was at bat during the Republican congressional baseball team’s practice in Alexandria when the shooter opened fire.
“We heard a loud noise. It felt like a construction site; somebody dropped a big piece of metal, and then the next thing I remember is somebody on the field yelling ‘Run, he’s got a gun!’ I ran into the dugout like most people on the field,” he said. “We never expect to have to deal with what we dealt with today when you’re trying to play a baseball game for charity, and that’s why we’ve got to make this day our day where we say the political rhetorical hate ends.”
Davis has played for the Republican congressional baseball team for five years, this year as catcher. He said he took cover in the dugout after the gunman opened fire, and then down a nearby street to safety. He fell as he ran, and suffered an elbow injury.
“I got to witness the heroism of the Capitol Police that were there as part of Steve Scalise’s detail. If they wouldn’t have been there, this would have been a massacre of innocent people,” Davis said.
Davis said seeing Scalise lying motionless on the ground is something he’ll never forget. He called for an end to political rhetoric he believes has become hateful.
“I never thought I’d play a baseball game for charity, go to practice at 6:30 in the morning, and have to dodge bullets,” he said.
The FBI and police have said they do not yet know if the gunman was specifically gunning for members of Congress, but Davis said there’s no doubt they were targeted.
“I don’t think it’s a coincidence that no bullets were fired outside of that baseball field,” he said.
Illinois Congressmen Darin LaHood and John Shimkus are also on the Republican congressional baseball team, but were not at practice.
Scalise, the number 3 Republican in the House, was fielding ground balls at second base when the gunman opened fire, and was shot in the hip. His staff has said he was in good spirits before undergoing surgery at the hospital.
The other four people who were shot were lobbyist Matt Mika, director of government relations for Tyson Foods; congressional staffer Zack Barth, an aide to U.S. Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas); and two U.S. Capitol police officers, one of whom shot the gunman.
U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) said one of the officers who was wounded returned fire, shooting the gunman. President Donald Trump said the gunman has died.
Davis said it “makes me nauseous” to know the shooter was from Illinois.
Hodgkinson, 66, owned a home inspection business, the Post reported. His home inspection license expired in November 2016 and was not renewed, state records show.
Officials told CBS News that Hodgkinson was carrying an M-4 assault rifle and a handgun. Both are being traced by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The FBI has taken over the investigation.