Congressional Baseball Shooting: Florida Rep Says Likely Gunman Asked Party Affiliation

Florida Rep. Ron DeSantis and a friend, Rep. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, had just finished a practice with the Republican congressional baseball team early this morning when they had an odd encounter with a man in the parking lot outside a Virginia baseball diamond.

"There was a guy that walked up to us that was asking whether it was Republicans or Democrats out there," DeSantis recounted to Fox News this morning. "It was just a little odd."

A few minutes later, dozens of shots exploded on the suburban ball field. At least one member of Congress — Majority Whip Steve Scalise — was wounded, as were several members of the Capitol Police, who later apprehended the shooter.

Details are still emerging about the mass shooting, which apparently targeted the GOP members of Congress practicing this morning for the annual Democrats-vs.-Republicans baseball game scheduled for tomorrow at Nationals Park. DeSantis says he's unsure that the man who asked about his party is the same man who opened fire, but he believes so.

The GOP reps had gathered at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park near Alexandria, Virginia, to work on their game plan for the matchup, which has been waged since 1909. Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks says he was standing in the on-deck circle near the third-base line when he heard loud booms and saw Scalise wounded and running into the outfield. The gunman continued to fire with what sounded like a semiautomatic rifle, Brooks tells CNN.

DeSantis just missed the carnage. He and Duncan pulled away from the field less than five minutes before the shooting. But the Florida rep from the Jacksonville area says he's certain the man he encountered was the shooter.
"He wasn't carrying anything at the time," DeSantis tells Fox News. "It was just a little odd how he walked up to ask and then went ahead and probably like three minutes or five minutes after we pulled out of the parking lot [started shooting]."

No members of South Florida's congressional delegation are on the baseball team this year and apparently none were present when the shooting occurred.

Marco Rubio quickly tweeted out his support to the Capitol Police and DeSantis, whose condition has yet to be released.
KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink