Chuck Fleischmann recounts scene of shooting at GOP baseball practice

Chuck Fleischmann recounts scene of shooting at GOP baseball practice

June 14th, 2017 by Emmett Gienapp in Breaking News

Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn. is seen near the scene of a shooting in Alexandria, Va., Wednesday, June 14, 2017, where House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of La. was shot during a Congressional baseball practice. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

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U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn. was among the congressman who were fired upon and on Wednesday afternoon he recounted a scene of sudden confusion and terror. He said the Republican baseball team had a "very normal, uneventful practice," before the shooting began. 

"I heard a single large bang and I thought nothing of it. I did not realize at first that that was a gunshot," he said. "Until about 15 seconds later when a barrage of very loud shots rang out and I realized that people were running, were screaming — we were basically under attack from a gunman."

He said he was talking to a volunteer coach, Larry Hardy, with his back to the shooter. Both of them hit the ground when the gunfire erupted. Fleischmann estimated somewhere between 30-50 shots were fired. 

"I realized at that point that laying there I was a sitting duck if he decided to shoot me so what I did was I did my best to run and jump into the third base dugout," Fleischmann said. 

He injured his hand, arm and side as he dove into the third base dugout, as did several other congressman who did the same. He said a child was also in the dugout, his father somewhere outside. 

"It was very scary. We were all in fear," he said. "Finally we heard returned fire and that came from the members of the capitol police."

Eventually local law enforcement arrived and stopped the shooter, but Fleischmann said the event will have a lasting impact on him. During and after, he thought of the July 16 shootings that killed six service members in Chattanooga in 2015, only he experienced this firsthand. 

"I have never been subject to gunfire before where someone was actively shooting. I was just very fortunate and I'm very thankful because I would have been the first and easiest target," he said. 

Tomorrow's game will go on and Fleischmann has said he will play and continue his work in Congress. 

"We cannot let the bad guys win. We have to protect our freedoms, that means our second amendment rights, our first amendment rights," he said. "This shooter was obviously a very bad person with very bad motives and I'm going to continue to do my job."

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