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A morning’s baseball drill becomes an assault on Republicans

By in Press Enterprise on June 14, 2017

By The Associated Press


ALEXANDRIA, Va. — First came the ping of bats, a familiar sound of the leafy neighborhood’s morning. Then the crack of gunfire, which isn’t.

It started with a single pop, which for a split second was not alarming to the Republican members of Congress who had gathered for a final practice before a charity baseball game with Democrats this week. As one lawmaker would later note, it could have been a car backfiring.

An FBI Evidence Response team inspects the contents of one of the many bags left at the scene of a shooting in Alexandria, Va., Wednesday, June 14, 2017, involving House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of La., and others, during a congressional baseball practice. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Then, after a pause, the gunshots came in quick succession and the horror unfolded in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, home to many federal workers, lawyers and lobbyists who commute across the river to Washington.

A congressman, two Capitol police officers, a lobbyist and a legislative aide were wounded as lawmakers, some fighting back tears, sought to understand what had happened and why. In a hail of bullets, police killed the gunman.

“You never expect a baseball field in America to feel like being back in a combat zone in Iraq,” said Ohio Rep. Brad Wenstrup, an Army reservist who served as a combat surgeon in Iraq and was on the field Wednesday when the shooting began. “But this morning it did.”

They had gathered on this muggy morning, trading suits and ties for sneakers and baseball caps, to practice for Thursday’s annual left-right match-up, a friendly Democratic-Republican rivalry for charity in a capital otherwise poisonous in its partisanship. Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks had bicycled nine miles to make the 6:30 a.m. start.

The baseball park, home to the T.C. Williams […]    

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