Skip to main content

tv   Today in the Bay  NBC  June 14, 2017 5:00am-6:01am PDT

5:00 am
including house majority whip steve scalisi. this is the chopper that is headed to the scene right now. this is going on. we understand at a baseball field. we're expecting a special report from nbc news right -- ♪ details are just coming in about a shooting that happened in and ri yeah, virginia, right outside of washington, d.c. reportedly, a member of congress has been shot. this happened at a baseball field where we're understanding that they were practicing for a softball game that's coming up. >> congressional softball game set to happen tomorrow. nbc's tom costello is standing by on the phone. tom, what more can you tell us at this point? >> good morning. we're in alexandria, virginia, just across the river from washington. this kuoccurred within the past hour or so, a gunman allegedly
5:01 am
opening fire on a group of members of congress who were playing baseball, really practicing for a big baseball game that they have every year. that game is tomorrow night. they were on a practice field when a gunman apparently opened fire. we do have reports of people hit. we cannot tell you exactly who has been hit. there's one report that a gunman has been taken into custody. and that is where we stand at this point. there may be more coming in the next few minutes, but a tremendous amount of emergency equipment here in virginia with police, fire, are rescue, all on the scene and allegedly one gunman taken into custody. >> and there are reports, as i mentioned at the top, that a member of congress has been shot. but we just aren't clear yet whether or not that identity has been confirmed and we have no reports at this hour of any fatalities, but as tom just mentioned, potentially multiple shots fired. >> tom, you mentioned that there are reports that this gunman may be in custody. is this an area that's on
5:02 am
lockdown right now? do they believe this is a beganman that acted alone, that he might be part of something larger? and again the caveat here being that this is very early and all of this information is of course preliminary. >> reporter: yeah, craig, there is so much police activity in this area, i'm still not able to get right up to the scene itself. i'm a couple of blocks away. and as you would expect with this much police activity, the streets are a bit locked down at the moment, difficult to get in close so i can't answer your question as to whether they think other players might be involved here. but we do have a report that at least one gunman may be in custody at this point. there are also members of congress tweeting out updates on themselves and reporting that multiple shots were fired and that one report has it that a rifle was involved in the shooting. but we don't have that independently confirmed. >> and tom, sorry to interrupt you, but nbc has now confirm that had steve scalisi, a
5:03 am
republican leadership member in congress, was one that was shot. unclear on his condition at the moment. i want to go to peter alexander at the white house and i sthee sean spicer, the white house press secretary has said that both the president and vice president have been briefed. peter, what more can you tell us. >> reporter: that's right. we're now hearing from the white house, sean spicer, the press secretary, who you'll remember formally served as a republican national committee so he has very close relationships with members of congress that would include the republican congressman from louisiana. the president and vice president are aware of this developing situation in virginia, adding that our thoughts and prayers are with all affected today. there are reports so far, not yet independently confirmed that he was hit in the hip by gunfire today. a lot of reports, many coming through twitter, lawmakers and aides communicating on the status on twitter, one of them suggesting that mo brooks actually used his belt as a
5:04 am
tourniquet to some of some of the bleeding on one of the victims at this location there. this took place in an area of virginia known as the del rey area, that has largely been a gentrified area. at this point still unclear whether in fact the victims here, those individuals who were hit were specifically targeted or if this was just violence that happened to take place in that area. but about this congressional baseball game that is at least this morning, as of this morning, scheduled to take place tomorrow at the nationals ballpark, the home of the washington nationals baseball team, this is really one of the few bipartisan opportunities that still exists in washington with a deeply divided congress right now. this is the chance for everybody to come together on days like tomorrow night. it's the reason why so many lawmakers get up for an early morning practice at 6:00 in the morning. we're going to work to get new details on exactly who was hit by these bullets. >> okay. and we are just getting this information, so forgive us as we try to put it together. but nbc has been able to confirm that congressman steve scalise,
5:05 am
who is one of the republican leaders in the congress, was among those shot. we believe there were multiple shots fired and it's my understanding there is another congressman who was there at the time and may have been involved as peter mentioned in administering aid. so we're continuing to gather facts right now. >> peter, stand by for us if you can. let's get back to tom. tom on his way to this baseball field in northern virginia, and again, tom, at this point, since our last conversation, again, we're able to confirm that it was, in fact, congressman scalise who was shot. waiting on an update on his condition. can you describe for us the scene where you are right now, tom? >> yes, craig, i've now managed to get up to the field, and there's a series of recreational fields, soccer fields, baseball fields, and the like. a very heavy police presence blocking all the roads going into that area around the baseball field, so for several
5:06 am
blocks with fire and ems personnel on the scene as well as police. we don't see any, at this moment, don't see any officers who are tactically armed. in other words, we don't see any signs of s.w.a.t. but that doesn't mean they're not here. it just may mean this scene is big enough, it's difficult to see where those people are. also, police helicopters in the air above the scene. >> tom, not to put you on the spot, but you've been around washington a long time. if a member of congress is in a recreational setting like this, practicing baseball, is there any kind of security detail that would go along with that member of congress? >> reporter: you know, i really don't believe so, savannah, not for typical member of congress. for the most part, as you know, they kind of come and go. they may or may not have a security individual watching over them or there for their protection, but this was not the kind of protection you would get with the president or the vice president or even a cabinet member as you know. >> this picture right now for viewers at home, this is a look
5:07 am
at northern virginia, this is alexandria, virginia. just over the bridge there, washington, d.c. word this morning of shots fired at a congressional baseball field -- excuse me, a congressional baseball game practice, waiting to get a little bit more details here. tom costello for us on the phone, tom telling us that the scene right now, roads blocked into those fields, fire and ems, a large presence, of course, obviously, there as well. waiting to find out more about the suspect. tom, i know that you indicated short time ago that there are reports that there's a suspect in custody. do you have any more information on that? >> reporter: i'm afraid i don't, craig, and candidly, as i try to make my way a bit closer up to the command post, i'm not even, at this moment, in a position to ask the police for an update. so, you may have a little bit quicker access to information through the network news desk than i do at the moment. >> and obviously, we're all over that. there are a lot of conflicting reports on twitter at this
5:08 am
moment, and this is one of those times that we try to take a deep breath and have some caution because this is obviously in the early hours, we get information that ultimately changes. so we want to be as careful as we can be. but we do know that a congressman has been shot, that apparently there was one shooter that we know of so far, who fired multiple shots at this baseball practice. >> it was in washington, d.c., over the weekend, and there was a great deal of talk about the game. we'll get to that in just a moment because these are the first pictures that we're getting in from the baseball field here in northern virginia. first pictures from the scene. difficult to discern from this vantage point. >> is this a live picture? i'm going to ask our producer. it is a live picture. >> we just heard from tom that this is an area where you've gotten in the distance there to the right, you can see what appear to be baseball fields there, soccer field there in the front. peter alexander still standing by for us with a little bit more information. pete, what do you have? >> reporter: yeah, craig, we are now hearing from the alabama congressman mo brooks who was at this republican baseball
5:09 am
practice this morning as this took place. here's what he is now saying in interviews. he's saying that behind third base, on this practice field, he saw a rifle and then he heard steve scalise's colleague, the republican from louisiana, screaming. that was over near second base. he said scalise then bleeding krauld into the outfield. moe brooks is detailing harrowing scene this morning. he says the two members of the congressional security detail were among those who were shot, which is important because it indicates that these lawmakers did have members of their own security teams with them at the time. he also said that the shooter was hit by gunshots by security who apparently were firing back at the time. moe brooks describes that when this all happened, he was in the on deck circle so basically just alongside home base, that he was looking out in the outfield, again, as he mentioned. he saw someone, a shooter, behind third base. he saw the rifle and that's when shots were fired. he is saying that there were at least 50 shots, 50 shots or perhaps as many as 100 shots as
5:10 am
he's communicating it so far. this again coming from moe brooks, one of those republican members of congress who was at that baseball practice taking place early this morning. the shooting said to have taken place literally just shy of an hour ago at about 7:15 this morning. >> and it sounds like congressman brooks is giving an interview. we have not had a chance to talk to him ourselves but it sounds like he's describing this situation that's quite harrowing and he reportedly is also somebody who was able to try to help aid steve scalise. some people talked about moe brooks, the congressman, using his belt as a tourniquet to address some of the bleeding but we don't have any word right now on the congressman's condition, whether he's at the hospital, where he is right now. these softball practices are something of a rite of summer in washington, and members of congress go, staffers go, so there would have been quite a few people there at this baseball field, and alexandria
5:11 am
is right across the river from washington, d.c., and from many vantage points, you can see the capital from there. >> peter, can you clear up some confusion. the reports obviously that congressman scalise has been shot. can you confirm whether staffers have been shot as well? >> reporter: i can only base my reporting on what moe brooks is saying right now in an interview. he said that steve scalise, the majority whip, was among those shot. he also said that he believes at least one staffer was hit as well as two members of the congressional detail. he said he thought about five people were wounded right now. we don't have specifics on their conditions, and frankly, in terms of the number of injuries right now, we just don't know. >> all right, peter, thank you. i don't know if we have tom costello to check back in with who was making his way to this baseball field and i believe had arrived at the scene. tom, are you with us? >> reporter: yes, i am. let me just tell you that meanwhile, a block and two blocks away from this scene, you've got a bunch of school
5:12 am
kids and clearly their last day or two of school, all of them walking to school at this moment through this very sensitive area, these kids with backpacks and shorts and t-shirts on a very hot day in the washington, d.c., area all making their way to the local schools, so business as usual in the blocks surrounding this, but as you would expect, the police focus very much on that scene, on the ballpark scene right there, the fields, just a block or two away from these schools and a very heavy police presence as well. we've not seen any more ambulances rushing in to this area. in other words, one would ascertain, just based on that body language, that perhaps, in fact, the situation is contained at this moment. >> and i was having the same exact thought, tom, because we were looking at this live shot and we can see some of the emergency personnel that are there, but they do not seem to be in a state of trying to actively protect a scene or
5:13 am
searching for somebody. so perhaps it is the case that whatever has unfolded and transpired this morning, it is somewhat under control at this moment. it's scary when you talk about those school kids who are walking right through that area. >> you mentioned the school kids and even from this vantage point, you can see regular passers by appearing to traipse through what appears to be an area that's cordoned off with police tape. tom, i know you're making your way to the command center to try and talk to some officials. when you get some more concrete information, let us know, but again, according to tom costello, this is a situation that may be, hopefully, contained at this point. >> i just been reading a tweet from the democratic whip, so he's the democratic counterpart to steve scalise in the congress from maryland and he said he's monitoring reports of the situation and thinking of his friend steve scalise and his staff. so we're just really starting to get this information as it comes
5:14 am
in. and here we have a shot. this looks to be from twitter of a helicopter arriving at the scene. perhaps a medivac. hard to make out from the picture. >> peter alexander just a few moments ago here on our air doing some reporting based on congressman moe brooks from alabama. congressman brooks was giving an interview and during the course of that interview, according to peter, sort of recounted what appears to have happened. shortly after 6:00 a.m., someone behind the third baseline at this park in northern virginia heard a rifle. shortly thereafter saw steve scalise, the congressman, the majority whip, crawling into the outfield. he was bleeding profusely, according to congressman brooks, who was also on the scene there. the eye-witness, mr. brooks, allegati also telling us that the shooter appeared to have been hit by gunshots. there are still a number of things we do not know at this
5:15 am
point. among the outstanding questions, is the suspect in custody, was the suspect perhaps even shot and killed on the scene there. did he act alone? according to tom costello, this is an area now that appears to be -- appears to be somewhat -- the situation appears to be under control to a certain extent. basically just what we're seeing here as well. >> and i think, craig, we have somebody who might be able to shed some light. i think i have on the phone, charles, you were just on your way to work out and you passed this scene. do i have that right? what happened? >> i came upon the scene when all the police cars were arriving. i came in the side door because the front door was blocked. came into the gym and people were visibly shaken. a woman i work out with generally next to me, named amber, had been leaving the y and someone took the first shot. it went above her head, hit the glass, went through the glass and went through another interior piece of glass into the pool area. then they took another shot.
5:16 am
>> how close is the y to the baseball field? can you give us a sense of how close this was? >> 75 yards. it's adjacent. >> and what have you heard from other witnesses and the young lady you just mentioned about what happened here this morning? >> she said she thought some of the shots might have even come from law enforcement but wasn't sure because they were shooting at the shooter and took the shooter down. and there were three bodies out on gurneys that they were attending to. and then a chopper came and pulled at least one of them out of here. we can't see who anyone is, so we can't confirm anything about whether they were members of congress, shooters, staff. >> but it's -- >> or whatnot. >> it was her sense that the shooter had been shot by police? >> yes, she said he was down. yeah. >> hey, charles, the scene right now where you are, can you tell whether this is a situation that appears to be ongoing, or can you tell whether it is a situation that seems to be under control right now?
5:17 am
>> my first thought was that it's under control and it probably is, but there's mayhem out there looking with all the police vehicles and fire vehicles. they're probably just being prudent and making sure there's not another shooter, but people are inside the y. some are already working out, trying to go about their days but they won't let anyone leave the y until it's all clear. >> thank you for calling in and telling us your story. we appreciate it and send you our best. we want to go back to our reporter tom costello. what have you learned? >> reporter: i'm speaking with a witness right now. could i ask your name? >> katie. >> reporter: and what happened, what did you see? >> i was getting out of the car with my dogs to go to the dog park and i heard really, really loud popping sounds and i knew a baseball team was practicing at the baseball field, and everybody started screaming, hit the ground, hit the ground, and a bunch of the players behind the big trees but i was in the middle of the field so i just lay flat in the field. and the sounds were getting
5:18 am
louder, like they were coming -- he was walking across the field towards all of us. >> reporter: the gunman was? >> the gunman and i was screaming, someone help me, i have my dogs and i can't get behind anything but they couldn't because nobody could do anything and the security -- special agent pulled out a handgun and tried to shoot back and was screaming, drop your weapon, and shot her. >> reporter: wait, the shooting suspect was a woman? >> no, no, no. >> reporter: the algt wgent was woman. >> the suspect, i'm not sure. i think the agent was a woman. i'm not sure of that either but he or she fell on the ground and we were all just trying to lay as flat as we could and then i called -- i finally got my cars and shoved them under the car and laid as close as i could under the car, and then s.w.a.t. came and seemed to get it under control. >> reporter: did you notice
5:19 am
members -- anybody who was shot? in other words, beyond the officer, did you notice anybody else shot? >> there are a couple of people injured that they took out on stretchers. the person who was the security guard, they took out in a helicopter. and other than that, i'm not sure who was who. i didn't even know until investigators just told me five minutes ago. >> reporter: and the gunman was also shot, you believe? >> i don't know. they said that they captured him. >> tom -- >> reporter: let me just tell the anchors in new york that you are very -- you're shaking. it's hard for you to control right now, because you've seen something very traumatic. and i would imagine you're just grateful that you got out alive. >> it was -- you never think something like that's going to happen to you, and it was terrifying, and also it was even scarier that i had my dog children with me. so i'm very glad that all of us are okay. >> what time did you get to the dog park this morning? >> reporter: i'm going to get
5:20 am
back to you. this is a very traumatic experience. she's shaking and difficult to -- just trying to hold it together right now. >> if katie is still with you, can she describe the shooter at all? was she able to make him out at all? >> reporter: let me ask. >> as we wait for tom to perhaps ask that question and get back to us, just sort of a recap of what we heard from that eye-witness, katie. seeing that she heard some popping sounds. she and her dogs, they hit the ground. she saw the gunman. she saw what appeared to be perhaps a female agent, some sort of law enforcement agent, pulls out a gun, starts to shoot back in the direction of the gunman. this was from one eye-witness. and then before that, we heard
5:21 am
from charles as well, at the ymca, which ises nearby. tom, you still with us? we may have lost tom for just a second. >> peter at the white house. hi, peter. >> reporter: hi, savannah and craig. we are hearing more from moe brooks, who is notable is a former district attorney, a former d.a., but today was effectively serving in the role as a doctor. he used his own belt as a tourniquet to try to stop some of the bleeding on one of his own colleagues, steve scalise. he's also describing, as best he could see it, the gunman in this situation that took place now about exactly an hour ago, describing this individual as a white male, saying this person was middle aged. he says there were about 15 to 20 people at this baseball field at that time. among those we know was the kentucky senator rand paul who was there, and rand paul this morning is telling our colleagues at msnbc that one of the things that may have saved many of those individuals there
5:22 am
is the simple fact that steve scalise was at this practice as a member of the republican leadership. that meant that he had security staff with him. he had a security detail with him at the time. as it's described by moe brooks this morning, he says there were roughly 10 to 20 rounds from the shooter's rifle before he heard capital police firing back in the opposite direction. describes this white, middle-aged shooter as moving while he was firing. he says of the capital police, i'm sure they were as astonished as we were. again, all of this taking place within the last hour. moe brooks speculating or moe brooks not speculating, moe brooks indicating that he believes about five individuals were hurt here. this is near one of the metro stations in alexandria, virginia. it's an area i lived not very far from here not too long ago. this is an area that has had bouts with crime in the past. in fact, the police have made a
5:23 am
habit of coming to some of the local communities there and speaking to the residents about crime in that area. there have been murders and other violence there. so, before we make any judgment about whether this was targeted, it's worth noting this is an area that has had some problems with violence in the past as well. >> and a good reminder to keep our minds open. things are not always what they seem. but we do know that a congressman has been shot, steve scalise. there were several members of congress as we understand it who were at this baseball practice. rand paul, the senator from kentucky, was just telling one of our colleagues over at msnbc that he believes this could have been much worse if steve scalise had not been present. he says that because steve scalise is a member of the house leadership, that he would have had a security detail. >> right. >> of some sort and perhaps he's -- i presume that senator paul either knows or is presuming that that detail was able to step in and perhaps stop this from being even worse than it is.
5:24 am
we've already had witnesses tell us this morning they saw up to three bodies on gurneys, that they believe that the shooter has been stopped, perhaps shot by police. we look at this live picture. >> the democratic baseball team was practicing elsewhere when they heard the news. they're all safe. >> we just heard peter talking about something else that we've seen on twitter. the democrats were also practicing a baseball game and they posted a picture of them praying as everyone is right now, waiting for information. >> and for folks who aren't familiar with this game, this congressional baseball game, it happens every year. it's for charity. it's one of the few bipartisan events left in washington, d.c. it was set to happen tomorrow at nationals park, and it's basically members of congress, their aides, some staffers, and a softball game, and the rehearsal -- excuse me, the practices take place before business hours oftentimes. we can also tell you that according to moe brooks,
5:25 am
congressman scalise, the congressman who has been shot, the majority whip, a huge baseball fan. so much so, in fact, during the course of the campaign, was actually known to give out bats. nbc news law enforcement analyst jim cavanaugh is standing by with us as well. jim, i imagine you've been watching these events unfold here over the last 30 minutes or so. as you watch this scene play out, what goes through your mind? >> well, some points are that a rifle was used and i watched senator paul's interview on msnbc and he was in the batting cage. he believed it was rifle fire. and so when you have people on the field like that, the rifleman can get back, you know, can get back at a distance, which makes him difficult to stop, so you know, the capital police surely the security detail and congressman scalise stopped him from the weapons
5:26 am
they had. but this is targeted, you know, look, i've been working these shootings and crimes all my life. this is not a random gang activity thing. this is a baseball game at 7:30 in the morning. the practice has been going for two months. and everybody knows in the community it goes on. i used to live a few miles from there and one of my tours of washington and i know that area very well. nobody's out there with a rifle shooting baseball players. it's targeted at the congress. every knows the congressmen are out there and when you can stand back, craig, you can get that rifle and you can start shooting into a small group of people, two or three people who may be gathered around, you know, a base, at home plate, in the dugout, and of course everybody scatters, it gets harder for you to hit them, because they're running and as senator paul said, the gunman was running too. so that takes the accuracy away. >> let me just jump in here, jim, because i see a tweet from the police department stating that the suspect is in custody and not a threat, and they're
5:27 am
going to have a public information officer on the scene there shortly to fill us in. but that is a tweet from the police department. of course, this all took place in alexandria, virginia, this morning. but go on. complete your thought. >> well, it's excellent work by the capital police. excellent work. when you have a distance shoot we are a rifle, you know, in a field who's moving and the capital police security detail some of those officers wounded, and then they get to stop the guy, arrest this guy, it's exceptional work. but we have to worry about the wounded congressman. what we used to say to our agents in atf, if you're shot and you know it, you have a real good chance of living, don't despair. if you're shot and you know it. so when you're shot in the leg or the hip, you know, the medical care you're going to get right there is going to be exceptional. so unless the wound is immediately fatal, you can fight and you've got a chance to live, and let's hope there's no fatalities out of this. maybe the distance and the shooter moving and being engaged
5:28 am
by the capital police would have kept the fatalities down. let's just hope that's the case. >> jim to be clear for our viewers and listeners, this is all very early, so the information could and will likely change to a certain extent. but it sounds like you're fairly certain that this was a deliberate act. >> we have a lot of shootings we go to with the police and atf and fbi, and when they're gang-related or criminals shooting each other or drive-byes, that happens on a front stoop. it happens when a gathering of a gang member's funeral. we've those. we've had them at bars and nightclubs in the early morning hours, 5:00 a.m., 4:00 a.m., that kind of stuff. 7:30, shooting directly at softball players in the clear daylight of a washington morning is not a gang -- >> stand by, jim. >> so sorry to interrupt again but we want to go to our local
5:29 am
affiliate, wrc, speaking to a witness. >> i'm being told they're not letting anybody in, not letting anybody out. just to hold tight. >> can you repeat what you just said. >> how long have you worked for the ymca? >> since january. >> is this a safe neighborhood? i mean, what's your reaction to what has happened here? >> it's a very safe neighborhood. it's just very unusual to hear anything about this. so, it's kind of surprising me, because, you know, everybody's so tight around here, and it's -- i don't know. >> we've heard that there were shots fired into or shots hit the window of the ymca where you work. can you confirm that? >> i can't confirm that because i wasn't in so i can't confirm it. >> is everyone safe at the ymca where you work. >> yes, i believe so. >> can you reiterate what you did see or hear. >> i heard that it was shots fired around the ymca, and five
5:30 am
people were hit. >> you didn't see that yourself. >> i didn't see it myself. >> can you describe the emergency response that you saw. >> it was -- when i was coming in i seen a cop behind me and then it was three cops that just passed by and then a cop behind me, he just took off, put his lights on and took off and when i pulled up to the light down the street, i seen it was all blocked off. and then i seen the helicopter and i just was -- it's just crazy. >> what did your supervisor tell you about the people who were in the y at the time? did they evacuate or shelt ner place or what did they say happened? >> he didn't say but i believe that they sheltered. >> other than yourself, were there any other pedestrians or perhaps drivers who may have seen what you saw? was it crowded or kind of an empty morning? >> it was crowded. i mean, i'm not sure what anybody else seen. >> so there weren't any other people besides yourself just walking around?
5:31 am
>> no. i mean, i just pulled up when everything was blocked off. i wasn't -- >> how do you feel right now? >> it's just -- i don't know. words can't describe right now. i have no idea. >> he had a semiautomatic weapon? >> that's what i heard. >> i'm looking at a tweet as we listen to this witness describe what he heard. claire mccaskill, the u.s. senator said she spoke to capital police and indicated the offers will be okay and she adds, thank god, i hope it's true for anyone hit but that's the first somewhat official indication we have that spraps some members of law enforcement may have been injured today. >> this also coming in from alexandria public schools. they are apparently on lock-in. this is per district officials. they are locked in, takes place if the threat is identified outside the schools. all the school doors are locked but classes continue as normal.
5:32 am
no entry into our exit from the school is allowed. so again, areas -- schools in this particular area of alexandria are on, they call it lock-in, known to most probably as lockdown. >> and of course alexandria pd, the police department had said that the shooter is in custody and no longer a threat. we've reported that the house republican whip, leadership position, steve scalise, was shot. we don't know his condition. there were several members of congress there. lots of safstaffers. this is something of a rite of summer in washington, these baseball practices and there's a big game that was supposed to happen, i believe, tomorrow. >> yes. >> and so -- >> at nationals stadium there in washington, d.c.. >> it's just horrific. >> we've heard from a number of witnesses over the last 30 minutes or so, according to one of them, if not congressman moe brooks from alabama, the gunman at this point being described as a white male, middle aged, and it sounded as if, according to a
5:33 am
number of these eye-witnesses, that there was a rifle that was used a high-powered rifle. tom costello is back with us now from the scene. tom, what can you tell us at this point? >> reporter: hi, craig, we have made our way to the scene and we are right on monroe street. if you look down the street, you see a tremendous amount of police and fire activity and the park is down to your left. in other words, go down about a block and to your left, that's the park. this all transpired, we believe, right about 7:00 or so this morning, and we've already talked to one witness who said that she was walking her dog right there through the park at this very moment when suddenly shots rang out and she saw at least one person go down. she believed that person was a security officer who was returning fire against the gunman. she wasn't aware of anybody else hit but she also says, when she hit the ground, she was literally pressing her face to the ground and she couldn't tell what the gunman looked like and
5:34 am
what he or she was using in terms of a weapon but many people around here believe it was some sort aftof a high-powe weapon that was able to pop off a lot of rounds all at once. that witness then hugged the ground and literally kind of scooted across the ground until she was able to get near a car and take refuge or huddle underneath a car, until police arrived aon the scene. she says they brought in a helicopter. she at the time believed it was a female officer but she wasn't sure about that. she was not aware, she did not have eyes on any member of congress who was shot, but she said it was a very scary and terrifying scene with an active shooter on this baseball field. to reiterate, if you are just joining us, this was a softball or baseball practice for members of congress getting ready for the game tomorrow night when early this morning, 7:00 or so, shots ringing out at the field here in alexandria, virginia, and if you were to keep driving
5:35 am
down that street, to give you a sense of permspective, you woul essentially hit the river and on the other side of the river is washington, d.c. that's how close we are to d.c. and alexandria, of course, is a place where many members of congress and members of the media live. it's a close suburban neighborhood into washington, d.c. the alexandria police department saying that they have one suspect now in custody, and again, we don't know his or her identity, and we don't know for sure the conditions of the people who may have been hit. guys, back to you. >> tom, we'll let you continue your reporting there. thank you so much. let's go to peter alexander at the white house. we know we got a statement from the president. are you hearing about also a possible motive, peter? >> savannah, let's tell you first that statement from president trump right now. he writes, the vice president and i are aware of the shooting incident in virginia and are monitoring developments closely. we are dopeeeply saddened by th tragedy. he adds, our thoughts and prayers are with the members of congress, their staffs, and all others affected.
5:36 am
those the first words from president trump coming from a statement just released by the white house within the last matter of minutes. i was just looking out right now at pennsylvania avenue in front of the white house, and the road in front of the white house is presently shut down. i see additional yellow tape out there, lafayette park in front of the white house also appears to be closed down to the public as well. so it appears right now that we haven't had a chance to speak to the secret service for any specific confirmation on whatever they may be able to tell us that there is some additional security measures being put in place here surrounding the white house. in terms of the circumstances as they played out in alexandria right now, we are hearing more details from mo brooks, that alabama republican, who was among those present today at that baseball practice. he said this morning in an interview of the shooter he was going after elected officials. it sure as heck wasn't an accident. and rand paul, the kentucky senator who was also there, said to have been warming up in a batting cage during this practice. he was just heaping praise on
5:37 am
the capital police who he says happened to be there because the majority whip conceisteve scali there. he said, had they not been there, it would have been a massacre. this morning, rand paul and others are praising the police, specifically, for their bravery on this harrowing morning. >> and peter, we're starting to see some statements from members of congress who were there. i see a statement from facebook from congressman jeff duncan who says, i am safe. i was at the congressional baseball practice but left before the shooting to catch an earlier meeting. i believe i saw the shooter and i'm in the process of giving a statement to the police. please pray for my colleagues. i think we have casey hunt on the hill. i want see if casey has something new for us. >> reporter: i just arrived here at the capitol after i was actually at a softball practice for the women's version of this congressional baseball game, the congressional women's softball game. when we heard the news and broke our practice early to come here, you could tell on the way in, the security presence was heightened, and i spoke to
5:38 am
several capital police officers as i walked in here who clearly had heard that some of their colleagues had been injured and were just starting to get the information about what was happening at this baseball practice. now, they said that they did not have confirmation of anything. they couldn't tell me exactly what had gone on, except for those early reports. but they did say that there are -- there's going to be an increased presence of security over at gallaudet university in washington, d.c., not that far from the capital, where democrats were holding a similar practice. you can also see -- i'm sorry. >> i'm sorry again to jump in here, but we just have a piece of sound coming into our news room from mo brooks, the congressman who was there and helped give aid to steve scalise, who was shot, and i want to play part of that, if we could. >> there were a number of congressmen and congressional staffers who helped us, lying on the ground, one of them was
5:39 am
wounded in the leg. took off my belt and myself and other congressman, i don't remember who, applied a tourniquet to try to slow down the bleeding. >> that was congressman mo brooks from alabama who also went on to say had it not been for capital police, this would have been massacre at that baseball field. >> he said he thought he heard up to 50 shots. he said the security detail responded and was key there. and he said the gunman had a rifle. he saw the point of the rifle. he ran behind home plate. he thinks the gunman was a white male, middle aged, and chubby, and he said it seemed intentional, quote, it sure as heck wasn't an accident. that is an account that congressman mo brooks who was there is giving to another cable network this morning and that we're quoting from that. >> there are roughly more than 30 members, 30 or so republican members who were slated to be on the roster. not clear at this point whether all of them were at that
5:40 am
particular practice but we're talking about members of congress, their aides as well. all of them getting ready for this baseball game that was set to happen tomorrow at nationals park. nbc news analyst clint van zant is a former fbi profiler. clint joining us as well. these are live pictures of the scene in northern virginia. word that this particular gunman used a rifle, a high-powered rifle, unclear at this point what kind of rifle precisely it was. but when we look at motive, and, again, very early in the investigation, but when we look at motive, what are the kinds of things that jump out at you right now? >> well, one thing, it seems like it was a planned activity. i mean, this individual with a high-powered rifle didn't just stumble upon this event this morning, because he's driving around town looking for someone to shoot. there's also been one report of a witness who said they saw
5:41 am
someone that may or may not have been the shooter who asked which political parties the individuals represented on the field. that has not been confirmed yet, but if it does, that may suggest some type of further motive. as we know, law enforcement has the individual in custody. hopefully he'll be able to shed information, and it's going to be like any other shooting that we have. law enforcement, fbi, secret service, they're going to move very quickly, trying to identify who else may have known this, who else may have conspired, and is there -- are there any other events linked to this that are still going to take place. in the meantime, anyone who has the responsibility to protect the public and protect members of congress, et cetera, are going to have to lean forward in the saddle on the off chance that this is an ongoing conspiracy. >> how much planning would something like this take, clint? >> you would have to know in advance when the practice was going to take place.
5:42 am
you'd have to know how to get in and out to the practice. you'd have to have the weapon with you. so, my thought is it would not be a spur of the moment type. it would be someone who had advance information. the next question, of course, is where does one get that information? was it available in the media? or how did he find out about this? >> well, you know what, on that point, clint, let me just add to it because senator rand paul, who was talking to msnbc this morning was there, according to msnbc, he jumped the fence and hid behind the tree. he said it sounded like an ar-15. he said this group had been practicing there for two months from this time period, 6:15 to 8:00. he also, as i said before, added that if the police hadn't been there, if this capitol hill detail that follows congressman scalise who of course in the house leadership, had they not been there, rand paul said this would have been a massacre. but interesting to note that this was something that they
5:43 am
have been done, perhaps, there's some routine to this. >> yeah. it truly would have. and look, were it not for those security officers that you're speaking about, and realize, today, we have to have armed security at america's favorite sport. they still have to be there. and it also suggests what a high-profile target political figures have become today and that instead of just having town meetings, now you have to have town meetings with security details. it's a sad comment, i think, on our society and the over 3 million guns we have in our society that we're still trying to get control of somehow. >> well, of course our thoughts go to what happened to congresswoman gabrielle giffords in arizona. she was holding a town meeting and was shot. now we're talking about a baseball practice. people, staff members, and members of congress practicing for a big game tomorrow and we've reported just to bring people up to date who are just turning in, a lone gunman, it appears, came with a rifle, got
5:44 am
off, perhaps, up to 50 shots. a member of congress, steve scalise, was shot. others reportedly shot, perhaps, up to five people. we don't have word on their condition. we have one witness tell us this morning, craig, that she saw three people on a gurney. importantly, importantly, alexandria police saying that the suspect is in custody and not a threat right now. >> that suspect being described by one of the yooieye-witnessesa white male, middle aged, also described by i believe it was mo brooks who described him as on the chunky side as well. but again, the gunman in custody. getting some more details here. again, a lot of this information coming from congressman mo brooks, a republican from alabama who was there on the field as well. at one point, the alabama congressman used his belt as a tourniquet to help stop the bleeding from his colleague and friend, steve scalise.
5:45 am
scalise, apparently, shot on the field and proceeded to crawl into the outfield. we heard from a woman on the phone earlier, her name was katie, she was there in the area with her two dogs. she described the scene, hearing the gunshots from the rifle, hitting the ground, at one point seeing what she thought was a member of law enforcement, a woman pulling her gun and shooting in the direction of the gunman. there are a number of questions that we don't know at this point, including the condition of congressman scalise. the condition of the gunman as well and also the condition of some of these staffers who apparently were shot as well. >> i happen to have a friend who works on capitol hill. she says that her boss, congressman kevin brady, was at the baseball game this morning. he is okay and he was with another staffer who is also okay so they apparently saw it and were trying to get in touch with them. but that's another member of congress who was present. i think -- i think we have -- we were talking about senator rand paul and msnbc. i think we have some of that interview. let's listen. >> so at one point, it appeared
5:46 am
the gun -- the gunman was -- i think he continued to reload. i probably heard 50, 60 shots, and then finally, we heard a response, you know, from the capitol hill police, and we're actually very lucky they were there. they do a great job. these are, you know, brave men and women and we were really lucky they were there. >> and did you see anything happen between the capitol hill police or the security detail and the perpetrator? did you see the perpetrator at all? >> i could see way in the distance and everybody was saying he has a blue shirt on but i could not see -- the gun sounded like an ar-15 to most of us, and we couldn't see the gun but it was a rifle. one of the things that really fortunate and probably why not everybody probably would have died except for the fact that the capitol hill police were there and the only reason they were there is because we had a member of leadership on our team. if scalise wouldn't have been on the team, unfortunately, he was hit and i hope he does well, but
5:47 am
also by him being there, it probably saved everybody else's life because if you don't have a leadership person there, there would have been no security there. >> all right. that was kentucky senator rand paul there recounting what went down on that baseball field a short time ago. we're also hearing from other members of congress who were there. congressman jeff flaken, in an interview a few moments ago, saying that this gunman, a lone gunman, quote, it seemed like he knew what he was doing. congressman flake also saying that he was the one who called steve scalise's wife to tell her what had happened. >> case stoy hunt is on the hilr us. >> reporter: we are here with congressman costello who's actually a member of that baseball team. congressman, relay to us what your experience was this morning. >> well, my experience was the ride to practice, if i'm not there at 6:00, they leave and i was outside at 6:02. guy with rodney davis and brad
5:48 am
winstrop and as a consequence of that, i was down at the house gym and waiting to see if another member was leaving the gym to go to practice so i could hitch a ride with them. and no one came in, so it was -- i remember looking at my phone and it was 6:18 and i said, well, i'll just go get ready for work and ended up up in my office probably around 7:00 a.m. i was watching morning joe. i was watching you on "morning joe" and then maybe 7:45, i saw that it was breaking news, and -- >> so you missed this by about two minutes. >> yeah. >> reporter: have you spoken to colleagues there? what's your understanding? >> the only thing i know is what i'm seeing on television right now. from the reports that i see, the angle of where the shooter is and steve, i mean, i play shortstop, steve plays second, it just hits home like nothing really ever has. >> reporter: you seem very shaken. >> yeah, i mean, the other thing to note, i mean, there's 15 to 25 members on any given morning. there's 10 to 15 staffers, young guys that work on the various
5:49 am
committees for members and it's just very -- i'm speechless. >> reporter: a very difficult account here from congressman costello. >> and we just talked about senator flake, who has been recounting his experience. hence that the 10-year-old son of one of the congressman was there at the baseball field so it's just -- it's just a horrifying situation that we're learning about. garrett, our correspondent, i believe, has made his way to the scene. what more have you learned? >> reporter: good morning. just an enormous security presence here. i have to tell you, they've locked down a large area around this ballpark, around this essentially a high school baseball field. we're maybe two blocks away from the start of the field here right now, but they're calling in additional law enforcement help this morning. already the city and county of alexandria are here. nbc news reporting that the atf is on the way here to assist with the investigation but we're
5:50 am
waiting to hear more from alexandria police. they're the ones who said that this gunman, most importantly, is no longer a threat and that he is in custody although we don't know yet -- we understand that he's likely been shot but we don't know more of the details about that. we're going to try to get a little bit closer to the line here and come back to you with more information as soon as we can get it. >> we'll come back to you in just a moment. peter alexander at the white house. and president trump just tweeted about this? >> reporter: yeah, we heard from him moments earlier in a statement and he writes, representati representative steve scalise of louisiana, a true skpend from patriot, was badly injured but will fully recover. our thoughts and prayers are with him. that tweet from president trump, literally a matter of moments ago. we're also hearing from some other lawmakers as well and i'll read some of their statements to you. one of them is mark walker, a representative in congress, a republican from north carolina, he was at the site at the time. he says, shaken by okay. gunman was there to kill as many
5:51 am
republican members as possible. grateful to capitol hill police as we understand it at least two capitol hill police members were among those hit by bullets today, and it appears that their heroism, their shooting back, may ultimately be what ended this from in the words of rand paul, being a massacre. we're also hearing this morning, cbs news radio just finished a conversation with a representative from ohio. this is the congressman brad wenstrop who says the gunman was armed not just with a rifle but also with a pistol. certainly that will be a part of the investigation. law enforcement closed in on him. he says that wens wens, who is a physician, tells him that he treated scalise at the scene and scalise was conscious and okay. so the good news it appears now from multiple sources, including the president, is that steve scalise, that majority whip who's been serving in office since 2008, appears to be okay
5:52 am
despite his injuries after this awful morning in alexandria, virginia. >> okay. and as we mentioned, the president himself saying that scalise is badly injured but will recover, according to the president. senator jeff flake of arizona who was there has given an account now to reporters. he said that he actually saw the gunman hiding behind the dugout. that at that point this all happened they were doing batting practice and congressman scalise was on second base. he also added that a female officer was shot and then air lifted by a chopper out of there and believes that another man had been shot in the chest. so we don't know their condition yet. but it confirms what we've been reporting this morning, that there were multiple injuries. one gunman so far that we've heard about and that gunman in custody according to alexandria police and no longer a threat. >> senator flake, the arizona senator, also went on to say that the member -- there's been talk of 50 shots, at least 50 shots. senator flake saying that's an understatement, saying that it
5:53 am
was more than that, and he said that he -- he goes on to say, i just remember seeing gravel bounce off as shots were coming near us, tried to get our own people engaged. some folks were calling 911. someone was applying pressure to a staffer who had been shot in the leg. congressman scalise dragged himself from near second base. congressman scalise was playing second base for the team, dragged himself from second into the field to try and get away from the gunman. he was lying there motionless. senator flake saying that he was -- he wanted to get to him but there were still shots being fired from both side. when we heard that the shooter was down, senator flake saying he ran out to steve and started putting pressure on the wound. there were, according to senator flake, at least 25 members of congress who were there. again, according to the roster, there were 32, 33 republican members, not all of them were at the practice, but at least 25,
5:54 am
again, according to senator jeff flake from arizona. >> we just mentioned gabrielle giffords, the former congresswoman who was shot while holding a town meeting in arizona. she tweeted this morning, my heart is with my former colleagues, public servants and heroes every single day. >> so many unanswered questions right now, again, the condition of the congressman, the condition of a number of staffers. we are getting some details about the gunman. middle aged white man, had at least a rifle, according to some other reports, perhaps a pistol as well. but we don't know anything about the gunman's condition at this point. tom costello remains on the scene for us there. tom, what more do we know at this point? >> reporter: craig, in just a few minutes, the alexandria police chief will be briefing the members of the media right here at our camera position. they just moved this police cruiser back a little bit so that he has a little bit of room. his name is michael brown and he just arrived on the scene a short time ago. this being in the city of alexandria, of course, they will
5:55 am
be in charge of this investigation. but you can imagine that the capitol hill police department will also be involved in this investigation as we believe members of the capitol hill police department were involved in this incident with the shooter. to reiterate, and my apologies if you've already gone over some of this material, but we now believe that we have five people that have been shot, including gop whip scalise as well as two security officers. we also believe a staffer may have gone down and then the gunman, him or herself. we talked to a witness who saw this whole thing happen but wasn't sure whether the gunman was a man or a woman, could not provide any details other than that. but did say that as soon as the shooting started, she, the witness, hit the ground very quickly and was literally putting her face into the mud, trying to stay as low as she could. she said it was absolutely terrifying as members of the security detail then exchanged gunfire with this gunman, and she says that one of those officers was then hit by
5:56 am
gunfire, and that is why they brought in the medivac helicopter to escort that particular officer out. she thought that officer was a woman, but she wasn't sure in any way, shape, or form. so what we have now is pretty consistent reporting from witnesses that a total of five people shot, including the gunman at this moment, no reports of any fatalities emphasize it would appear the gop whip scalise did not suffer life-threatening injuries. >> tom, we've just received, it looks like a statement, perhaps, over twitter from congressman mark walker. he said a republican of north carolina and he tells nbc news, i'm shaken by okay. the gunman was there to kill as many republican members as possible. grateful to capitol hill police. that is congressman mark walker, republican congressman of north carolina who was at the scene. that's his statement to nbc news that this person was there to kill as many republican members as possible. and this does align with some of what we've heard from other
5:57 am
witnesses, such as senator flake, who i believe said this gunman knew what he was doing, that this was a practice that had been going on for some months. this is the alexandria police chief, michael brown. >> let's listen in. >> ladies and gentlemen, i'm going to try and make this brief and give you what we currently have at this location. i am chief michael brown of the alexandria police department. i'm joined here by a number of officials that are working with us on this particular scene and event. and what i'd like to talk to you is give you an overview of what took place. we received a call of an active sho shooter, shoots fired at 0709, nine minutes -- give you an overview of what took place and we received a call of an active shooter, shots fired at 0709, nine minutes after 7:00 this morning. here at the park on monroe, simpson park. at that time, there was a practice team event with a
5:58 am
baseball team. folks that are representing some folks on the hill. we were there within three minutes. we do know that officers from the office of capitol police as well as three officers that we had on scene arrived. two of our officers engaged and gunfire, returned fire. beyond that, we're not going to make any other statements until such time as we know exactly what's taken place here on this thing. it's an active scene. we have a lot of witnesses that we're having to interview. we are collaborating with the capitol police, with the alexandria sheriff's department, with the medical, with the fire department here in alexandria. we also are working with the federal bureau of investigation and collecting evidence and doing statements and the things you normally do in these kinds of situations. we will try to keep you posted as we get more information. right now, we're going to try and schedule a press conference probably about an hour and a half from now and we'll give you an update. but right now, that's all we have. i will add one other thing.
5:59 am
we know that five people were transported medically from the scene. we will not give out their names or locations at this point or know the condition of their injuries. so i'm not going to take any questions at this point. largely because you've got everything that i'm going to release at this juncture. what i will do now is i would like the ask the chief from the capitol police come up. chief. >> good morning. >> speak just a little louder, please. >> this morning, we received a call via our communications of shots fired at this location. officers who were on scene responded and engaged a suspect in gunfire. very shortly thereafter, the alexandria city police and other units responded to assist and at that point, we were able to calm
6:00 am
the situation into -- victims were transported to the hospital. we're not going to get into any details in terms of the investigation. this is very early on. we will -- i want to thank the alexandria police, the sheriff's office, and the alexandria fire department for their rapid response to the request for assistance and the 911 calls. appreciate their rapid response and certainly it saved lives. at this point, we're going to gather the investigators together and look at what we have and put this incident together. again, it's very early on. and there's a lot of witnesses to be interviewed. once we have more information, we will certainly pass on whatever information we can to make sure that you have the information you need for your work. thank you very much. i'm going to turn it back over to the alexandria ch

125 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on