WASHINGTON ― A Republican congressman who was among the six people injured in Wednesday’s shooting at a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia, called on lawmakers to consider funding more stringent security measures.
“When you have group of congressmen in one group, we ought to study that, in terms of security. Doesn’t make for a good situation,” Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas) told CBS News on Thursday, after other lawmakers brought up the issue on Wednesday. “It needs to be looked at and studied.”
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) was still in critical condition on Thursday morning after undergoing several surgeries at a hospital in Washington, D.C. As a member of the House leadership team, Scalise has a security detail, but most lawmakers do not.
Williams and his legislative aide Zach Barth recounted their experiences during Wednesday’s attack, which occurred while a group of Republican congressmen were practicing for a charity baseball game scheduled for Thursday.
On NBC’s “Today” show, Barth, who was shot in the leg, described running into the dugout to take cover and protect others from being injured.
“I was running for my life, got into the dugout, and I was bleeding pretty badly, but I was really just trying to keep my head down, keep everybody’s heads down and prevent anything else from happening,” Barth said.
Williams recalled that he mistook the initial gunshots for the backfiring of a car.
“But then came ‘Pop pop pop pop pop.’ People were yelling, ‘He’s got a gun. Get cover!’” Williams said.
Williams also took cover in the dugout, and described how Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) used his belt to create a tourniquet to stem Barth’s bleeding, with the help of Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.).
Williams recalled that lawmakers and staffers also made an extra effort to protect the 10-year-old son of Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), who had also taken cover in the dugout.
“We had generations in this dugout,” Williams said. “We bonded that day.”
Williams and Barth thanked the two U.S. Capitol Police officers who were also wounded on Wednesday after engaging in gunfire with the assailant.
“Without them, there would have been tremendous loss of life,” Barth said. “I probably would not be talking to y’all.”
The Congressional Baseball Game, an annual tradition, will go on as planned at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., on Thursday night. Lawmakers greeted the news with a standing ovation on Wednesday.
“It’s baseball, it’s America,” Williams told NBC. “When America gets punched, America punches back, and we’ll do that tonight.”