U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis Not Injured In Virginia Shooting | WGLT

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis Not Injured In Virginia Shooting

Jun 14, 2017

Congressman Rodney Davis was not hurt during the shooting of five people at a Congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia. Davis plays catcher on the team.

The wounded are in good condition.

Davis said he never thought he'd go to a baseball practice and "have to dodge bullets."

"When I was up to bat I heard a loud noise, what I thought was a construction site dropping a loud piece of metal. And the next thing I heard was 'run, he's got a gun'. I ran into the dugout, dove in on top of others who had made it there before me and realized that wasn't the best place and dispersed out for more areas," said Davis.

Davis, of Taylorville, credited U.S. Capitol Police officers on the scene of Wednesday's shooting outside Washington D.C.

"The true heroes of this event were the two Capitol Hill police who were part of Steve Scalise's detail. If they would not have been there, this would have been a massacre of major proportions of innocent people in a park where innocent civilians walk their dogs. We have kids at practices. These two brave officers engaged with the shooter. I know one, at least, got shot herself. And they are the true heroes," said Davis.

Davis was interviewed on CNN, still in his baseball t-shirt, with blood on his elbow and hand.  

Davis said 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 are running away from gunfire and also trying to make sure your situational awareness is there too," said Davis.

Police have not said whether the shooter was intentionally targeting members of Congress. A government official said the suspect in the shooting has been identified as an Illinois man named James. T. Hodgkinson of Belleville. The official was not authorized to discuss an investigation by name and spoke on condition of anonymity. The FBI and local law enforcement officials say they haven't identified a motive.  

"I don't think it's a coincidence that no bullets were fired outside the baseball field," said Davis.

Congressman Darin LaHood of Dunlap was not at the practice, though he has played in the past. Congressman John Shimkus has played in the past, but was not present.

Shimkus housemate in Washington, however, is GOP majority whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana. The gunman shot Scalise in the hip. An article in Roll Call magazine several years ago noted that Shimkus is fiercely enthusiastic about the game.

Statements of support are flooding in across the political spectrum.

"Our hearts go out to the victims of a tragic shooting this morning. We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the United States Capitol Police who put their lives on the line this morning and each and every day to keep members, staff, and visitors safe," said Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL).

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the entire Senate is "deeply saddened" over Wednesday's shooting.  

In remarks on Senate floor the Kentucky Republican said senators are concerned for the injured and "will keep them in our prayers" and send wishes for a full recovery.  
McConnell expressed gratitude for the Capitol Police officers on the scene as well as other first responders. 

McConnell noted that the baseball game is a bipartisan charity event and he encourages the Senate to "embrace that spirit today as we come together in expressing both our concern and our gratitude." 

Representative Davis said the incident provides a cautionary example of the need to reduce the divisive language in politics.

"I have just as many friends on the Democrat side. The majority of what we do in Washington is bipartisan. The disagreements over major policy issues are what make America great. But, it's the political hate and  the rhetoric that has ratcheted up that has got to stop," said Davis.

"We have to come together as Americans. We have to take this tragedy that we saw today that could have been much much worse and turn it into a positive to let Americans know if you disagree with your leaders, that's ok. That's why we have elections. But, let's not ratchet up the hateful speech. You see stories about policies are going to lead to the death of people. That's political rhetoric that has run amok and it has turned into hate and it may be the reason that we saw the senseless tragedy that we saw today," said Davis.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives says it is examining two weapons involved in the shooting at a congressional baseball practice. The agency said it is working to quickly trace a rifle and a handgun to determine where they were purchased. It was not immediately clear if the gunman fired both weapons during the attack. An ATF spokeswoman said a trace of the weapons would answer that question.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to include the conference call and additional comments from Representative Davis.

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