By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Wednesday, June 13, 2017, both US Representatives Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) and Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) were at the practice for the charity baseball game when a shooter attempted to gun down Republican members of Congress.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana), his aide, a lobbyist for Tyson Foods, and the two officers in Scalise’s security detail were shot in the gun battle. The shooter was engaged by the two Capitol Hill Police officers assigned to Scalise or this could have been much worse. The shooter was armed with a rifle, while the two officers just had handguns. Alexandria police arrived at the scene and killed the assassin. The gun battle reportedly lasted ten minutes and witnesses claim that as many as 50 shots were fired in the battle between the shooter and police.
Congressman Mo Brooks said in a statement, “The shooting this morning at the Republican practice for the Congressional Baseball Game was harrowing and I feel extremely lucky to be alive and uninjured. Please join me in sending prayers for Congressman Steve Scalise, Capitol Police officers Crystal Griner and David Bailey – who risked their lives to protect us despite their injuries, Matt Mika, Zach Barth, and their families during this difficult time.”
Congressman Gary Palmer was hurt as he ran running for cover from the assassin’s gunfire. Rep. Palmer said in a statement, “This morning I was with my Republican colleagues practicing for the annual charity Congressional Baseball Game – a game that this year, ironically, is to honor the victims of the recent terror attacks in England – when a lone gunman walked out by the third baseline and opened fire.”
Rep. Palmer said, “I was about 20 yards away from the shooter. It was reported that I received treatment. This was due to me injuring my leg as I sought cover. My thoughts and prayers are with Congressman Steve Scalise and the others injured in this senseless tragedy. I am thankful for the bravery shown by the Capitol Police who were present and the quick action by the Alexandria, Va. Police Department in their response which undoubtedly saved many innocent lives today.”
Rep. Brooks told CNN that he used a belt as a tourniquet to slow Rep. Zach Barth’s bleeding before paramedics could get there. Scalise was playing second base when he was shot with a rifle round in the hip. He struggled to get off of the field and at last report was still in critical condition and needed more surgery.
According to original reporting by The Hill the would be assassin was 56 year old James Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois. Hodgkinson was a Bernie Sanders volunteer in the 2016 campaign. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) has since strongly denounced the actions of Hodgkinson and all political violence. Hodgkinson had a deep hatred for Republicans.
Congressman Mo Brooks represents Alabama’s Fifth Congressional District while Gary Palmer represents the Sixth Congressional District. Both are members of the Freedom Caucus. Rep. Brooks is a candidate for the US Senate seat formerly held by Jeff Sessions (R).
Original reporting by The Hill, CNN, and Fox News contributed to this report.