June 14, 2017

Pearce describes ‘very traumatic’ scene of shooting at congressional baseball practice

Congressman Steve Pearce speaking at the Western Republican Leadership Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2011. Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore cc

Steve Pearce, a Republican congressman from southern New Mexico, was present at a congressional baseball practice that ended with gunshots as someone opened fire on those practicing. Pearce described it as “very traumatic.”

One congressman, Republican Steve Scalise of Louisiana, was shot and underwent surgery. At least four others were wounded, though none were killed. Scalise is the House Majority Whip.

Pearce was unharmed. Pearce even met with students from a Silver City high school after returning from the practice.

After the shooting, Pearce spoke to KOAT-TV about the chaotic scene, where he told the TV station that he had just finished taking batting practice “when the first shots rang out.”

This is a breaking news story and more details may be added.

“When he was at the third-base side. I was walking to the first-base side. As I lay out in the parking lot, looking, I saw him walk around the building and could him fire again, probably 30 shots into our group.”

The alleged shooter has since been identified by media reports, citing law enforcement sources, shooting as James T. Hodgkinson of Illinois. President Donald Trump announced Wednesday morning Hodgkinson died in the hospital after being shot by police officers.

Pearce described Scalise as being shot in the hip, and two staffers shot, one in the chest and another in the leg.

A Capitol Policeman was shot in the foot, Pearce said. Capitol Police were on hand because of Scalise, who is a member of the Republican leadership.

“People were trying to help, they were running for cover. It was, just as you would expect,” Pearce said. “We were dragging the wounded to the side and not knowing exactly where the shooter is made it—i seen him standing there but he was not carrying a gun.”

Pearce said the shooter first shot at Trent Kelly first, but missed. Kelly was running and the shooter continued to shoot.

Kelly is a Republican from Mississippi.

Pearce later took to Facebook to describe what happened.

Other members of the New Mexico delegation reacted with shock to the shooting.

“It is shocking and troubling news that our colleagues were under attack this morning,” U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, a Democrat, said in a statement. “Truly sick that someone would turn a firearm on our nation’s leaders. Our thoughts will be with Congressman Scalise, the Capitol Police and everyone grappling with this appalling attack.”

“Jill [Cooper Udall, Tom’s wife] and I are praying for Congressman Scalise, my colleagues, their staff, and the heroic Capitol Police officers affected by today’s tragic shooting,” U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, a Democrat, said. “I want to extend my deepest thanks to the brave first responders on the scene, and I join the entire Congress and country in wishing a speedy recovery for all those injured in this horrific event.”