tv MSNBC Live With Stephanie Ruhle MSNBC June 14, 2017 6:00am-7:01am PDT
calm the situation, 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. i appreciate their rapid response and certainly it saves lives. >> was there one shooter? >> 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 -- i'm going to turn it back over to
the alexandria chief. >> thank you, chief. we're not going -- folks, we're not going to answer any questions at this point because as the chief pointed out, this is an active, ongoing investigation. we call it crime scene hot because we're collecting information and evidence. it would be premature for us to respond any further. in an hour and a half, we will come back together and give you an update on what we can speak to and perhaps answer some questions at that time. we're done right now. this is a stable situation at this point. there's no additional threat. we consider this incident to be a closed incident under investigation. thank you very much. we'll be back in an hour and a half. thank you. >> you've been listening to both the chief of the alexandria police department as well as the capitol police chief of capitol police. here's what we have so far. they got reports that nine minutes after 7:00 this morning of an active shooter at simpson park on monroe in alexandria, virginia. at that time republicans from congress as well as a few
senators were at a baseball practice. tomorrow there is a bipartisan baseball game scheduled and this was the republicans practicing. police responded. two officers engaged in open fire, according to the alexandria police chief. they're interviewing witnesses, they're working with the capitol police and the fbi. they did tell us and confirm that five people, five people were transported in ambulances to the hospital. we have confirmation that congressman steve scalise is one of those people, an aide and two capitol cops and we're being told, joe, that there will be an official press conference in about 90 minutes. joe? >> also being told that steve scalise and the two police officers at least are in stable condition. just to get a feel for the level of chaos there, senator jeff flake said that gunfire was ringing out, as many as 50 to 60 shots ringing out. at one point he heard more shooting start and while he was down started screaming, are you
friendly, are you friendly? and then found out that it was in fact police officers who responded within three minutes. also brad winstrop, many people saying very fortunate that he was there, a congressman who served in iraq as a combat surgeon. mika, he said this morning that he felt like he was back in iraq with the chaos and the gunfire ringing all around these members of congress who were there preparing for a charity event tomorrow night. mika. >> and stay with msnbc all day for the latest on this developing breaking news story, the shooting of congressman steve scalise, an aide, two capitol cops. the suspect is in custody. stephanie ruhle picks up the coverage right now. stephanie? >> i'm stephanie ruhle and we are staying on that breaking news. a gunman opening fire on republican members of congress. the house majority whip, steve scalise, hit while others are sent running for their lives. right now the focus is on scalise, shot in the leg or possibly the hip. his injuries are not life
threatening. i want to give you an idea of the scene and how exactly it unfolded. it began at a congressional baseball practice shortly after 7:00 a.m. this morning. reports are that a gunman approached the field, asked a congressman whether the republicans or democrats were on the field this morning and then opened fire on lawmakers and their staffers, firing as many as 50 or 60 shots. an eyewitness describing staffers on the ground with bullets striking the dirt around them. after several minutes, capitol hill police responded and took down the gunman, but at least two of them were shot in the process. right now all three, the congressman and two officers, are said to be in stable condition. a total of five people were transported to the hospital. alexandria police say the gunman is in custody. garrett hake joins me now from the scene in alexandria. garrett, walk us through who specifically was there. i listened to rand paul earlier this morning talking to "morning joe" and it sounds like they have been there most mornings
for the last two months preparing for tomorrow night's bipartisan baseball game expected to be played on nationals field. >> reporter: yeah, stephanie. this is no big secret. the republican team for that congressional baseball game, which happens every year, has been practicing at this field more or less every morning the last couple of months getting ready for this game tomorrow. the team is comprised of mostly members from the house but a couple of members from the senate who get here very early in the morning. they get here around 6:15 and practice until around 8:00 when they have to resume their day jobs. this morning we've had mostly the two senators actually, rand paul and jeff flake, have turned into witnesses in what has been described as a shootout here on this baseball field. we heard from rand paul this morning saying he was in the batting cages just off the field when he heard the first gunshot. at first it didn't raise any alarm to him, he's used to hearing gunfire when he was back in kentucky. but then a succession of other shots. he described seeing bullets hitting the dirt in the outfield
as aides and congressmen on the field scrambled to find any kind of cover. the police chief spoke a few minutes ago and described a scene that may have played out in just a few minutes. police got the call of an active shooter at 7:09. their officers were on scene here three minutes later but there were capitol police officers here protecting the whip of the united states congress, steve scalise, who were on scene and returned fire almost immediately. stephanie, we know five people have been transported to hospitals with injuries. the police aren't confirming their identities but one of them is steve scalise. we believe two of them are the capitol hill police officers involved in this. it's possible that the fourth could be the gunman who police describe in custody. the identity of the fifth person is still unknown, although we've heard reports that it may have been a congressional aide who was here practicing with the team. but we're hoping to get much more information from police when they speak again in an hour and a half, as we've been sort of working our way through the congressional baseball team
roster, checking in with the offices of these various congressmen to see were they there, are they okay and what do they know. >> mo brooks who was there told cnn earlier it sure as hell wasn't an accident. to garrett's point, rand paul spoke with our colleagues at "morning joe" earlier and he said had the capitol police not been there it would have been like a killing field, a massacre. because steve scalise is a member of leadership and has protection, capitol police were on hand. i want to share a bit more of that sound from rand paul's comments this morning. >> the first shot was sort of an isolated shot. i grew up in the south and i just thought someone had discharged a shotgun. then i thought, well, we are in the city, we're not in the country here. after the first shot, then there was a rapid succession of shots. you know, five or ten shots. i think he continued to reload. i probably heard 50, 60 shots. and then finally we heard response from the capitol hill
police. >> 50 or 60 shots. we heard from clint watts earlier when he was describing the weapon. rand paul couldn't see the shooter or the gun. based on the sound, he said it sounded like some sort of automatic rifle, possibly an ar-15. clint watts, when commenting on it, said it's likely capitol police would not have the type of weapons to combat that. they would have pistols that could maybe get off 10 to 12 shots, certainly not 50 to 60. mo brooks who was part of practice on the scene took his own belt and used it as a tourniquet to help steve scalise. rand paul said when he saw steve, he was dragging himself from the infield out to the right field area to sort of get away from the line of fire where other aides were laying in the ground. i want to share a bit of the comments mo brooks made earlier. take a listen. >> it seems that the shooter shot both of our security detail people. there were some congressmen on phones screaming for reinforcements.
it seemed like a long time and we weren't even hearing sirens from local police officers, which tells me they probably did not yet know what was going on. >> an extraordinary scene. i want to bring in an eyewitness to the shooting, david woodruff. david, good morning. you were simply out for a run when you saw this. walk us through it. >> good morning, yes. i was out for my morning run, actually was running back to simpson field when i noticed there was a group of people playing baseball. at first blush without recognizing it was a bunch of members of congress. not 10 or 15 seconds after that, i heard a series of what looking back was the initial burst. 10 to 15 shots in rapid succession, sounding like coming from an automatic weapon. i ran 10 or 15 yards, heard four or five shots and then at that point realized that this was indeed gunfire. happened to be running past an apartment building and ducked into the parking garage there, sought shelter and called 911 at that point. i was down in the parking garage
for seven or eight minutes and heard all of alexandria pd and saw the u.s. capitol police coming out. came up and then saw several members of congress that i know and recognize who upon talking to them, they had sought shelter in the apartment building. one of the staff who was with them helping to practice actually lives in that building so they were sheltering there. they then went back over. i've been here ever since, had a chance to talk to u.s. secret service who's been here, the fbi as well as the alexandria pd. from where i stand and i apologize, d.c. pd has the helicopter overhead, but you can still look out to the baseball field, still see the remnants of the emts with their medical kit and it looks like, again, a number of people out there who were injured. the volume of material left behind on the field really speaks to the number of injuries that were out here. again, right now the situation
feels very much under control. people are very much more relaxed than they were, but it was a very tense first 15 minutes until people were able to get the situation under control here. >> what specifically can you see on that field? >> say that again? >> you said the volume of material on the field. what could you see on the field? >> you can look out. emts still have some of their kits. you can see bandages, you can see, again, a number of the remnants in accordance with the half a dozen or so people that were injured. again, and their response. >> were you able to see the shooter, where he came from? it sounded like somewhere near the third baseline. >> i really am surprised that i didn't. i couldn't have been more than 10 or 15 yards away from that third baseline where the shooter was standing, heard the shots ring out, looked back over my shoulder but was not able to actually see either the shooter
or the incident take place. >> now, those who were on the field, obviously a baseball field is an open area. was there anywhere for them to run? when we heard from rand paul earlier, he said some of the congressional aides who were in the right field, he could tell they were trying to make that decision, do they simply lay on the ground where shots were landing around them or hop over the fence and possibly make themselves a target but get closer to shelter. what are you able to see? >> simpson field here, which is home of the t.c. williams high school, their varsity team plays here, so this is a real baseball diamond. it's got fencing throughout. so to the point, there was not a lot of exits if you were stuck in the outfield or even in the infield. i know senator flake had made reference to the fact that had the capitol police been there to not return fire, this could have been much, much more serious than it is. again, we're in very much a residential area, so it would have been easy for any kind of assailant to kind of slip in without anybody noticing here.
we're abutting a parking lot, playground, bushes up against the ymca here in alexandria. >> rand paul made very similar comments to what a massacre it could have been, really an open killing field had the capitol police not been there, those who were there to protect steve scalise because he is a member of the leadership. i want to share a little more of that. take a listen. >> everybody probably would have died except for the fact that the capitol hill police were there. 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 also by him being there, he probably saved everybody else's life. >> our colleagues at "morning joe" had heard earlier brad winstrop, a congressman from ohio who was a combat surgeon in iraq compared the experience, the chaos of the shots fired to being in iraq. while you have not necessarily
served, how would you describe the scene in terms of chaos and tension at the time? >> this was a situation that escalated very quickly. i think alexandria police were responding and then as soon as folks figured out that this was a significant what appears to be targeted deliberate act, it escalated with capitol hill police coming in. the eagle one helicopter came in and out twice to medevac two of the victims away. their response, they were here very, very quickly, so again it was impressive the volume of the response and, again, the professionalism with which these folks were able to get on scene and get this investigation going. >> all right, thank you. i want to bring in jim cavanaugh, retired atf special agent in charge and an msnbc law enforcement analyst. jim, i understand you've learned new information from your atf sources. i mean i just want to share first, mark walker, republican
from north carolina, tells nbc that he's shaken but okay. the gunman was there to kill as many republican members as possible and he's grateful to the capitol hill police. we had heard another member of congress who had left the practice early, but someone, possibly the shooter, had asked him those lawmakers on the field, are they republicans or democrats? so clearly there was some level of intent here. what do you know? >> right. i absolutely agree with that, it was a targeted, intentional shooting here in alexandria. what i know is a retired atf agent, a friend of mine, mark potter, who's an executive, he lives nearby. when the event happened, he was by the scene and he talked to a female witness. she saw the shooter walking toward the ball diamond with a rifle. of course she recognized that was an emergency. she told the retired agent, mr. potter, that she ran into the ymca and immediately dialed 911.
she described him to mark as a man with a white beard and older. but i think it explains one thing, steph, and that is the alexandria police response was so swift, they were there in three minutes. so they're getting a 911 call that the shooter is on the way to the ball field with a rifle. that's important, because the capitol police engaged them but they quickly, quickly had backup from alexandria police. so i would say that female witness factors in as a hero witness as well by running and making that call so swiftly. >> there's a number of heroes this morning. i want to bring in our justice department colleague, pete williams. pete, we know we've already received a statement from the white house. donald trump and vp mike pence have already put out tweets. donald trump's tweet earlier, rep steve scalise of louisiana a true friend and patriot was badly injured but will fully recover. our thoughts and prayers are with him. pete, what can you tell us? >> we are trying to get more information on precisely the number of people who were shot.
it may be six, we believe, but it's not clear exactly the identity of those people. we know for certain that at least two capitol police officers were wounded. their injuries are said not to be life threatening. as one official told me, they're going to be okay. we know congressman scalise and a member of his staff. we believe the gunman was also shot. we're told that the suspect is in the hospital. was taken to a nearby hospital, but we don't have any information yet on the identity of the suspect, what the suspect's condition is, and more importantly perhaps what the motive is, why this happened. is this someone who knew that this was a congressional baseball game? everyone who's been interviewed as a witness says that the gunman had a long gun, a rifle with several magazines of ammunition. but we're still trying to get clear exactly how many people
were shot and what the nature of their injuries was. >> i want to take you now to the white house where kristen welker, our white house correspondent, stands by. kristen, i'm reading a tweet right now, a message from congressman dave bratt who spoke to kasie hunt and said it takes a day like this to wake us all up to look a little higher in life. if you think about it, tomorrow that bipartisan baseball game was scheduled. it's events like that that we see so infrequently, but it's that bipartisanship, it's that teamwork that so many people are looking towards our washington leaders to create. it's so tragic to see as members of congress who go to that field for the last two months practicing from around 6:00 to 8:00 a.m. most days in very hot washington to see such a tragic, tragic thing happen like this this morning. what can you tell us? >> reporter: that is the sense on both sides of pennsylvania avenue, steph, to your point. that game tomorrow night is one of the shining images of
bipartisanship here in washington, d.c. it's an annual tradition. there is some breaking news. we just learned that vice president mike pence has cancelled remarks that he was supposed to make at 9:00 a.m. today to the builders association. instead he's coming here to the white house to monitor the developments with the president. just to set the scene here at the white house in the west wing, i can tell you that top staffers are huddled in press secretary sean spicer's office. that is not atypical, there is a morning meeting, but they are undoubtedly discussing these developments. and then outside staffers who aren't in that meeting are watching the developments unfold on cable tv. it is very somber here at the white house inside the west wing. of course the president did put out that statement saying in part our thoughts and prayers are with the members of congress, their staffs, capitol hill, first responders and all others affected. now, in terms of what we anticipate from the president, he is set to deliver a speech a little bit later on this
afternoon at the labor department. i have reached out to white house officials to see if we will actually hear from the president before those remarks. no response to that, steph, but that is what we are watching and waiting for. what's happening outside the white house, as this was all unfolding, lafayette park, the park across the street from the white house, was shut down to pedestrian traffic. no word if that is still the case. that undoubtedly out of an abundance of caution, as everyone sort of braced themselves for what was unfolding in alexandria this morning. so this is a white house that continues to monitor the situation quite closely. of course they have monitored other developments, tragedies that have impacted various communities across the country, across the world, but this one hitting very close to home, steph. >> you mentioned paul ryan who was actually at the gym this morning when he was informed. he put out a tweet just a few minutes ago. this morning, the hearts of the whole house are with steve scalise. the brave capitol police, staff and all those who are in harm's
way. i want to also share a message from the u.s. capitol police that reads the u.s. capitol police is investigating a shooting that occurred off capitol grounds. the incident involved a member of congress and uscp personnel. out of an abundance of caution, the uscp has deployed a robust police presence throughout the capitol complex. however, all buildings are open in accordance with routine operations. kristen welker mentioned that mike pence has a change of plans this morning. we have received a statement from the white house, tweets from the president as well as the vice president. i'm sure president trump will be changing some plans. it is his birthday today, but at this point at 9:21 in the morning just over two hours since the shooting. it's certainly not a morning to celebrate. i want to bring in msnbc terrorism analyst malcolm nance and clint watts, msnbc national security analyst and former fbi special agent. clint, i want to start with you because i heard you on "morning
joe" a bit earlier speaking, even though at this point it's hearsay, about potentially the weapon used. rand paul said when he first heart it he wasn't entirely surprised. him being a man from the south, he's used to hearing maybe one shot fired. but when he heard 50, 60 shots it sounded as though it was a semiautomatic weapon, possibly an ar-15. what does that mean, especially if you consider the capitol police were on hand who don't have much more than handguns, pistols? >> one of the challenges right now, and we should use some caution. it sounds like the shooter definitely had a rifle. we don't know that it's an ar-15. what we should look at is oftentimes now perpetrators outmatch the law enforcement officers, meaning that we have high-powered rifles that are out there or ar-15s, which are much more advanced than the handguns that you would typically see or possibly a shotgun that might be in the car. so this puts, you know, law enforcement security people in a precarious situation. should an incident happen like this, even with a handgun,
you're standing off against somebody with a rifle, you've got to get much closer to actually land a shot against somebody like this. what's also interesting is it seems like there were lots of witnesses reporting that there was a very quick response. it sounds like both the capitol police and alexandria pd responded so quickly they really saved a lot of people there from being wounded or killed. just looking at this in terms of the exchange, when you hear 50 to 60 shots, i think what we're going to find is we don't know how many of those shots were exchanged between law enforcement and the shooter and the shooter and law enforcement. >> so in terms of those 50 to 60 shots, it's not necessarily from the shooter. >> exactly. >> it could be an exchange. actually we're going to listen in from senator jeff flake who just -- from moments ago who was on the field at the time. >> i heard that the shooter was down and i ran out to steve to put pressure on the wound there. >> where was he shot? >> in the left hip. >> what did he say? >> he was coherent.
he was asking for water. he was -- obviously he laid out there on his own for ten minutes. we cutaway the jersey and put pressure on it, it was bleeding quite a bit. >> who else was out there on the field with you? >> i got out there first and then brad, a member from ohio, came out. he's a doctor. and so we got some -- a shirt and put it on there and then as far as the other member -- steve was the only member shot. there was two of the capitol police were shot. one staffer, who dove into the dugout with a leg wound and we got somebody's belt and put it around there to stop the bleeding. so we were tending to him as well as trying to keep down away from the shooter. and then somebody was shot in the chest as well. so i think six total, including the shooter. >> do you know who was shot in the chest? >> i believe his name is matt,
works for tyson foods. he helps out with the game. >> what do you -- do you think this was targeted? >> i don't know if any specific members were targeted, but it's hard to imagine he didn't know what he was doing. >> you said you got a glimpse of the gunman. what did he look like? >> i would say he had a blue shirt on, dark hair, and looked to be 40s probably. but i wasn't looking too long. we were within line of sight so we were trying to get down. joe barden had a 10-year-old boy here and he made it into the dugout. we were trying to keep him under the bench. anyway. >> all right. but you're doing okay? >> yeah, i wasn't hit. >> have you talked to representatives? >> i called steve scalise's wife after we got off the field just so she wouldn't hear it somewhere else. so i talked to paul ryan this morning already, vice president pence and others.
thank you. >> jeff flake from the state of arizona who was on the field. as he said, he called steve scalise's wife soon after the incident. he didn't want her to hear it from the news. he spoke to vp mike pence as well as paul ryan. one interesting point of note, you know, when things like this happen, you really have to take a step back and give time to this because as jeff flake pointed out, he said that the man had dark hair, appeared to be in his 40s and 50s. yet we heard from a different eyewitness earlier, a woman who walked by the field and went inside the ymca to call 911 when she saw a man with a rifle approaching the field and what we heard was he had a white beard. it's going to take some time as so many people are processing this. you know, it wasn't just members of congress, some senators and their aides. to jeff flake's point, joe barton had his young 10-year-old son with him who they had hiding under the bench. i want to take you now to listen to a bit more. no, we lost it.
i want to bring in a statement that roger williams, a congressman from the state of texas, put out just a few moments ago. at approximately 7:00 a.m. eastern time this morning an armed gunman arrived at baseball practice and opened fire. congressman williams was not shot, however, a member of his staff was shot and is receiving medical attention. the gunman has been detained and at this time we do not have any further information but will continue to release it as it comes to the surface. jeff flake pointed out earlier, prior we had only been reporting that five people, including the shooter, had been shot. according to jeff flake, it's a total of six people, including two capitol policemen as well, of course, as one aide and steve scalise. i want to bring in malcolm nance. malcolm, i know you're not on the scene, but sadly you're not new to crises like this. what's your take thus far? >> well, unfortunately, we're facing another mass shooting
with a gunman here in the united states. one thing i would like to start by saying is i'd like to caution that we have no idea what the motivation of the gunman was thus far, whether it was actually political or not, even though the congressional teams play at that field. we don't know whether he was there to shoot people at the dog park or whether to shoot just anyone at the field. you also have to note that capitol hill police vehicles are relatively high profile. so, you know, that itself could have drawn him over there. we don't know anything about the confession of the gunman as well. that being said, the first thing that we need to note here is that the gunman was using a semiautomatic weapon from what we can tell, a long rifle, which some reports say may have had a scope on it. and that might explain rand paul's statement very early where he heard a single shot and then a lot of shots. one of the things that we tend to find with these new gunmen is
they tend to be a little hesitant and unsure as to whether the weapon is going to work, so they often fire a single shot. or it could have been an aimed shot using an optic, some form of scope, trying to get a very specific target. >> malcolm, slow down, what exactly -- walk me through, for those of us not exactly familiar with weapons, what does a scope mean. >> it's a sniper scope. it's what you put on top of a weapon to gain a much closer field of view to see your target better and it gives you an ability to shoot with some measure of precision. we don't know what kind of optic that he had on this weapon, but it would -- you know, if he did have an optic on there, it would probably explain the first shot. whoever he was aiming at with the first shot was the person that he would really want to hit. and also the capitol hill policemen being injured, i can understand how they would explain.
i went to s.w.a.t. officers school with the capitol hill police. i could easily see that they would have engaged the gunman and would have been running towards him. so in fact i think that their presence, their engaging the gunmen, even though they both -- two were injured, took the effort, you know, took the gunman's attention away from all the other people and he shot them. >> now, while we don't yet know, to your point, malcolm, what the motive was, clint, when we talk about the scope and that there was a first shot. do we know if the first shot was fired at steve scalise? was he the first one down? >> i don't think we know at this point. it sounds like senator rand paul -- congressman rand paul was the only person that saw that shot. other than that in terms of details, i don't think we know yet. >> we are at the half hour mark so let's take a reset here. a gunman opened fire on a congressional baseball practice in alexandria, virginia, this morning. congressman steve scalise was shot and wounded.
a fellow lawmaker describes it as a grewsome scene. >> he was dragging his body from the second base infield, which is dirt, to the outfield to get away from the shooter while all this firing is going on. so we're seeing our colleague as we're under fire. he's lying on the ground but there's not a whole lot you can do. >> brad winstrop, a former combat surgeon, compared the scene to being like when he was in iraq. the gunman reportedly fired as many as 50 or 60 shots as lawmakers and staffers ran for their lives and took cover in any way that they could. remember, it was an open ballfield. in addition to scalise, congressman roger williams confirms a member of his staff was also shot. it is unclear if one of scalise's aides was wounded as well. we know there were other aides laying in the outfield between second base and that fence on the other side of the fence where that batting cage was
where rand paul had been practicing. capitol hill police responded, at least two of them were also shot. the gunman was ultimately taken into custody. we know this, it is a man, no word on his condition or the motive. we have heard that he did ask a member congress who had been leaving the field, those out there in the field, are they republicans or are they democrats? our own garrett hake is in alexandria just next to the field right now. garrett, i realize we're almost two and a half hours since the shooting took place, but clearly the scene is still on high alert. fbi, police all over the scene. please give us a reset. >> yeah, stephanie, i think you covered it pretty well. we've been here about an hour and a half now. we are continuing to see more law enforcement here arrive on the scene. alexandria police from both the city and county as well as capitol police, atf agents and the fbi are all on scene here as part of this investigation. they have closed down i would say about a block and a half perimeter around the scene of this shooting. and this is not just the
baseball field, this happened in a fairly densely occupied suburban neighborhood, sort of a quiet neighborhood. i was just talking to one of the neighbors here who didn't want to go on camera. he was outside getting ready to mow his lawn and he heard this first pop which he thought might have been a transformer exploding. as he heard more and more, his immediate thought was perhaps this was a shooting at the ymca, which is just across the street from the baseball fields. he went inside just in case. when he came back out a few minutes later, there were still gunshots sounding in the air. he was about to call police when alexandria police responded. he saw them flying down this street towards the scene. the alexandria police chief told us they got here in about three minutes after getting that first shots fired call around 7:09 this morning. but it's what happened between when the shooting started and when that call came in that i think is going to be the focus of investigators as they get a little bit more access to this scene. stephanie, i will tell you, we are expecting to hear again from
the alexandria city police chief, who is taking the lead on this investigation, hopefully in the next 30 minutes or so. >> rand paul had said because steve scalise was a member of the leadership and he had security detail, it saved so many lives. without them there, it would have been a massacre. others on the scene said it went on for ten minutes, which must have felt like a lifetime. i want to bring back our department of justice colleague, pete williams. pete, you have confirmation that the shooter is a male. we had heard jeff flake say that it was a man possibly in his 40s or 50s with dark hair. another eyewitness had said the man had a white beard. she saw that man carrying a rifle as he approached the field. she then went into that adjacent ymca to call 911. what have you learned? >> we still don't know the gunman's identity nor do we know exactly why this happened, what the motive was. we assume at this point the authorities know who it is, but we haven't gotten that confirmed yet. that's important because once they know the gunman's identity,
they'll begin to do a thorough search of the gunman's residence, car, talk to friends, see who he was in touch with to try to figure out a motive, how much premeditation there was here, why this happened. we're also still trying to confirm precisely the number of people who were shot. we know it's two capitol police officers, congressman steve scalise, as you've noted, a staffer for congressman roger williams of texas, and that's three people -- four people, rather, and we assume that the fifth person is the gunman. but it's still not clear to us whether five people were shot or whether there was an additional victim, still trying to confirm that. we should have that locked up fairly soon. also inspect terms of what the weapon was, the witnesses have said it was a long gun, a rifle of some kind. some of the witnesses reported seeing the gunman reload the weapon with magazines or ammunition clips. so that will be an important piece of information too when we get that, stephanie.
>> extraordinary that the eyewitnesss are our own lawmakers. rand paul telling us that he was hiding behind a tree and couldn't even tell which direction the shots were coming from so he didn't know where to stand behind. mo brooks said, quote, it sure as hell wasn't an accident. i want to tap in mo brooks in another interview right now. >> i took evasive action. are we finished? all right. sure.
>> that, of course, is mo brooks from the state of alabama who was on the scene. he's still bearing his batting glove and this is now almost two and a half hours later. clint, i want to talk about -- and again, we don't know what type of gun that was used, but given the amount of shots that were fired, we have heard a rifle, possibly a semiautomatic. how difficult is it to get a weapon like this? >> it's not difficult at all. depending on what state you're based in, there's slightly different rules in terms of gun ownership. but you can acquire one, you know, within a day sometimes or even two to three days if there are some restrictions out there. so it's not difficult to acquire these weapons nor is it difficult to get the ammunition for it. we have very loose gun laws around rifles, semiautomatic rifles, whatever it might be. and when we look at this in the end, i think what it will ultimately come down to is we did have a really quick response. the capitol hill police sounds like were critical in ending the
situation. and what will really be of interest, i think, is what the premeditation and motive. usually when we see attacks against congressmen, that's at capitol hill, you'll see a disturbed person maybe try and take a weapon in through security or fire shots at the capitol. this is very different. this is going out and targeting congressmen. it's the other side of the river in virginia, early in the morning. it's a different location from what we see in these more symbolic sort of attacks on the capitol, and so in terms of motive, what's also curious is is it really about one political party or the other or just to attack congressmen in general. we don't know that at this time. i think that will be something to parse out as we move forward. was it really designed around this specific group or was it i want to lash out against legislators as a whole and did he really know who he was shooting at that day. there's been conflicting reports on that. in some of these instances, it seems like he was asking who was on the field to try and identify who he was shooting at. others, you're hearing accounts
saying that maybe it was targeted specifically at the gop. i don't think we know at this point, but there's definitely premeditation and there's definitely reconnaissance. this is not a practice field. i'm someone who frequents d.c. i would not have known this is where they practice for this upcoming softball game. >> brad winstrop, a republican from the state of ohio who served in the middle east an was a combat surgeon was on the field. i know it was mo brooks who used his belt as a tourniquet for steve scalise. i don't know if brad was trying to help him or treat him, but i want to share a bit of sound from brad's comments earlier, comparing the chaos to his time in iraq. >> i went out to steve scalise. i felt like i was back in iraq as a surgeon. and steve was conscious and okay. that's all i'll say about that. they got him out of here and the others.
>> malcolm nance, how extraordinary is this? on the other side of the river on a baseball field at 6:00 in the morning, extraordinary. >> it is extraordinary. it appears to be quite clearly a targeted attack. they come out there at 6:15 in the morning and they practice for about two hours. you know, it makes you believe they're out there all the time in the lead-up to this, to the annual congressional democrat/republican baseball game. so the gunman obviously knew that they were there, knew where to find them, and, again, if he came out with a scoped rifle, a rifle which could snipe individuals, then he had a specific target in mind. came out and effected that. >> malcolm, you're looking at members of congress, actual players. they're still in their baseball practice gear coming off the bus now making their way into the capitol building, so let's
listen in. if you think about this extraordinary turn of events, clint, does it surprise you. we heard from rand paul earlier who was in a state of shock and said, you know, we sort of expect these things when we're in official buildings but this is where we live, we go to the grocery store, we go to the pharmacy, but an open playing field like that, there's not a lot of security of is that something that normally you would assume would be secure -- we actually do have sound now. >> he was the only guy in the field that went down and so i was off the field and behind the backstop. >> thank you, congressman. >> sure. >> what's going on, buddy? so you are there? >> i was. >> so you guys were practicing? >> you know, extraordinary. certainly these congressmen and several senators and their aides who were there. i mentioned joe barton had just a young 10-year-old with him there for this morning's practice. some kids have now stayed inside
their homes. some who are in private school -- school is already out so joe may have had his son there as a ball boy for the morning. others in alexandria staying home. their kids inside the houses. even though the shooter has been taken into custody, actually taken to the hospital, people are still considering this an active investigation. clint, does it surprise you in any way that all of these members of congress would be in a vulnerable place like this, or would you say it's not vulnerable, of course they practice. hello, this is america. >> no, this is routine and normal. the whole idea of congress is that they are out engaged with the people, they're representing their people, they're part of normal society. if you remember back to when congressman giffords was shot at an event, one of the things that came up immediately after that was how do we secure all the congressmen 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year around the country in 50 states. and it became a logistical and security nightmare.
there was no real solution to it. so you look at events like this. this is normal and routine. it's only been really in more recent years that we've seen the heightened security post 9/11 even around capitol hill. so i'm not surprised that they were in a gathering like this and it's quite normal but also points to the question about how do we essentially provide security to all of these elected leaders everywhere they go against what is an unimaginable set of threats that could occur to them at any given moment. >> as a reminder, gabby giffords, who in 2011 along with 18 others was shot in a shopping plaza parking lot at an event, who since then has become a massive advocate speaking about gun control. what's interesting -- we're going to listen in. more lawmakers returning to d.c. >> i assume he's in surgery right now. but he was aware of where he was and what was going on, so -- >> and so you actually watched him get shot? >> i saw that he was down and
then i went out to him after they had subdued the shooter. >> okay. and what was the mood like today at this event? did you ever expect something like this to happen? >> no. we were upbeat getting ready for a game. something like this happens and you can't believe it. fortunately there's a security detail there, capitol hill police, or we all would have been vulnerable and without fire, return fire. so i'm sure they saved who knows how many lives. but let's pray for those that did get hit today. >> thank you, congressman. >> thank you. >> thank you, sir. >> another lawmaker who sort of reiterated what rand paul said earlier, how without the capitol police there, and remember it was only steve scalise, steve scalise who was shot possibly in the leg or the hip who had that law enforcement, that security detail because he is a member of leadership. had he not been there, had they not been there, it could have been a massacre. i was mentioning, malcolm, just a moment ago that shooting that
took place in 2011 in tucson, arizona, gabby giffords, who since then has become an advocate for gun control. what's interesting, just this weekend in galveston, texas, the uss gabby giffords was christened, was brought into galveston harbor, a navy ship that bears gabby giffords name. to you does this remind us of the need for heightened security? we've had quite a bit more focus an heightened security since that awful shooting took place back in 2011. actually i want to share, we now have the statement from -- on the condition of majority whip steve scalise. washington, d.c. the office of house majority whip steve scalise released the following statement on his condition following this morning's shooting that took place at 7:09 this morning. this morning at a practice for the congressional baseball game, whip scalise was shot in the hip. he was transported to med star washington hospital center where he is currently undergoing surgery. he is in stable condition.
prior to entering surgery, the whip was in good spirits and he spoke to his wife by phone. he is grateful for the brave actions of u.s. capitol police, first responders, and colleagues. quote, we ask that you keep the whip and others harmed in this incident in your thoughts and prayers. this office will release additional information regarding the whip's condition as appropriate. earlier president trump put out a tweet saying that while he was seriously injured, steve scalise would have a full recovery. we're hoping that's the case for the other five people because a total of six we've reported were shot. malcolm, what does this tell you about the security, the heightened security that there already is and that's needed? >> well, you can't protect every member of congress, as we heard from rand paul. he wasn't a member in leadership, therefore, he was just there on his own. however, this also shows that leadership itself, if it turns out to have been a targeted assassination attempt, which is starting to look like, the
leadership themselves do have to take these precautions. the capitol hill police does provide personal security details to the senior members of both the house and the senate. but in this time of political friction and with the virtually unlimited amount of guns we have in the united states, precautions are going to have to be taken. >> i want to bring kristen welker back in. kristen joins us live from the white house. kristen, we know that already the agenda for mike pence has changed today. president trump, who's actually celebrating his birthday, is certainly going to change what's on his agenda. before we get to that, i want to listen in on another witness who was there at that park in alexandria, virginia, this morning. >> we had a staffer down, matt michael was shot, and one of roger williams' staffers was shot. i'm out behind the fence trying to help the capitol hill police engage or spot the guy because
he's moving back and forth. they don't necessarily see where he's at. both of those officers start engaging. one of them gets shot in the ankle and goes down and then soon thereafter alexandria police shows up and they began to engage the guy. he's down to a pistol at that point in time. they shot him and put him on the ground, got him in handcuffs. >> did you think you'd ever see something like that? >> no, i didn't. no one ever thinks you'll be involved in a circumstance like this. it comes as a total shock, obviously. >> and did the police tell you anything, do they know who it is? >> no, no. this is a big fat guy, probably 5'8", 5'10", had a t-shirt, shorts, a long gun and pistol. it was a semiautomatic rifle. it looked like a 9-millimeter pistol. but just short hair. >> did polihe say anything? >> i was off the field and behind the backstop. >> thank you, congressman.
>> sure. >> i want to bring back kristen welker who is live at the white house. kristen, i want to point out that this is not yet confirmed. nbc has not confirmed this, but "the washington post" is reporting a spokesperson for gw hospital where some of the victims were taken, steve scalise who is in surgery went to medstar but a spokesperson from gw hospital said two victims from the shooting are in critical condition. we know that at least two capitol police officers, possibly an aide, steve scalise and the shooter were all taken to area hospitals. that shooter, who was confirmed a male, jeff flake said it was a man with dark hair with a blue shirt on. we know another eyewitness, a woman said she saw a man with a white beard walking towards the field. she went into a ymca to make that 911 call. rand paul, who heard the shots fired, who believed it was a semiautomatic weapon, possibly the sound of an ar-15, didn't
see the shooter but he certainly heard the 50 to 60 shots fired. kristen, what do you know? >> reporter: well, steph, i can tell you that the white house continues to monitor the situation quite the white house continues to monitor the situation. we're getting reaction to from the first lady who tweeted thank you to if first responders who rushed in to help those hurt in alexandria, virginia. my thought and prayers to everyone. that echos what we've heard from the president and vice president. this is the president's birthday, wu a somber one as they continue to monitor the developments. what do they know at this hour. vice president mike pence canceled a speech he was set to deliver at 9:00 a.m. today. instead he came directly to the white house to huddle with staffers adds they watch this all unfold. i was just back in the press office. i can tell you that there had been a meeting in sean spicer's office. that has now broken up. officials here trying to determine next steps.
we asked if the president has reached out to call any of the victims, called any of the congressional leaders. they said they're working to get up updates on all of that information and on whether we might hear from president trump before his remarks which were scheduled to take place this afternoon at the labor department. will he come out and address this situation before then. in terms of what's happening outside the whout, earlier today, lafayette park, pennsylvania avenue had been shut down out of an abundance of caution as the secret service and officials monitored the situation. both of those have now been reopened. it's a sign that things are moving forward here. even as there is so much sadness and such a somber sense here behind the scenes as they monitor the situation. >> kristen welker, i mentioned earlier that steve scalise's office put out a statement, he's in surgery now where they wrote prior to entering surgery, he
was in good spirits and spoke to his wife on the phone. he's grateful for to the reaction to the capitol police and first responders. we have brand-new video just in. it has been broadcast by cbs news where congressman steve scalise is on a stretcher. it was confirmed from his office that he was shot in the hip. he was around second base when he was shot. after falling he himself dragged himself into the outfield. mo brooks, a colleague used his belt as a turn quit. shots were fired, landing around t aides. rand paul watched the aides laying there making the critical decision do they stay on the ground and avoids fire ore
possibly try to run for cover. if steve scalise had not been there, it would have been a massacre because steve scalise is a member of leadership, he had the security detail. capitol police were on hand and first responders were there within three minutes. this is extraordinary. i want to bring in clint watts, and darren, a former member of the police department. what is your take on all of this? >> well one of the first things that i would assess is the active shooter protocol whether we're going to evacuate or shelter in place. after 9/11 people have disregarded police and have chose to evacuate. however we had some capitol police members that were on the scene and i think they were a very intricate piece in saving the lives of the individuals. one shooter was in possession of an ar-15. a difficult weapon to defend against even if you're wearing a bullet proof vest. therefore when we move forward, this event has been occurring
for 100 years plus, this baseball game between democrats and republicans. i think the capitol police are going to focus more towards ramping up their security moving forward for additional games. >> while it's not confirmed that it's an ar-15, eyewitnesses across the board have said they believe based on the sound of the shots it was an automatic rifle. congressman barton is speaking now. >> she started shooting, shot a her third baseman, shot at steve scalise, our second baseman. he hit steve scalise. the security detail and capitol police immediately began to return fire. and alexander police also immediately came and began to return fire. they shot the shooter and i think the security detail saved
a lot of lives because they attacked the shooter. so the he rroes are the capitol police, the alexander police and steve scalise's detail. >> reporter: do you know what the shooter looked like? did you get a look at him in. >> he was a middle-aged man, blue jeans and a blue shirt. i think he was anglo. and he had a rifle and i think he had an automatic pistol but i wouldn't swear to it. >> reporter: can you tell us what it must have been like in this idealic setting to suddenly have this kind of thing -- >> look. there's going to be all kinds of -- i'm the manager of the team. several people, the security people were hit, one of our staffers were hit, scalise was hit. i have talked to the speaker, i have talked to capitol hill police. i'm sure there will be a general statement later on. luckily no one appeared to be killed and again i just want to
thank the security detail. because they saved our lives. >> reporter: how long did it last? five to ten minutes. there were dozens if not hundreds of shots fired. it was scary. >> reporter: did you take cover? >> of course we did. >> reporter: where did you take cover? >> some of us were in the dougout, some on the ground. i was behind the dugout. my son jack got under an suv. he was very brave. my other son was in the batting cage and he also was very brave. >> that was joe barton from the state of texas who we just learned was the manager of the team. he recounted the scene. he had his young son, 10 years old with him. joe was in the dugout at the time and they said they ran for cover but he said the heroes really were the capitol police. there were no fatalities because of that. the shooter who he described as a middle-aged man wearing blue jeans and a shirt, believed was
angelo saxen, saying originally the shooter shot at the third businessman, trent kelly but the shot he got off was to steve scalise. he's in surgery right now. his office put out a statement. the president put out a tweet saying though steve is seriously injured, he's expected to make a full recovery. joe barton talking about this extraordinary event taking place this morning saying that the shooter got off dozens, maybe even hundreds of shots. but a tragedy, a true tragedy averted because of all of the security that was there. there were no fatalities and they were able to address the chaotic scene. an open playing field. malcolm nance is with us via phone. clint, when you're hearing from the team manager, joe barton, it puts into perspective the kind of security needed, dozens of
lawmakers on a field on a wednesday morning getting ready for what should be an extraordinary and infrequent day of bipartisan celebration tomorrow night at that game. >> one of the approaches security can take, it's hard to coordinate, when you get a mass or a grouping of people together that are all key targets, they can potentially be focused on if they come together. and so i think moving forward one of the things that will ultimately come out is when we have these large groupings of individuals we're going to see increased security. and you tend to see this in military planning. you'll look at where are all of the key leaders at, anytime they join together we tend to increase security. and i think a lot of those steps will come out in the after action review of this incident. and i imagine security will be plussed up when we see lots of congressman, aides, key leaders around d.c. move into these open environments. security will have to be raised. >> malcolm, as we just heard
from joe barton and got an even more detailed account, it sounds like the shooter had not one but two weapons. what do you believe the response will be around heightened security? malcolm, can you hear me? >> yeah, i can hear you. i they the response certainly from capitol hill to the heightened security is it's going to be much more visible. the easiest way to stop a lot of these shooters is to actually put security out in their face and make them think twice about what it is that they intend to do. we often see these gunmen will come out with a long weapon and they'll have the tactical pistol strapped to their leg to have that look which gives them what they think is totem strength to come out and carry out these murders which they obviously attempted to do today. but it's important for us to see
whether today was random shooting at a political figure or was it an attempted assassination of a very specific republican person. >> we do not at least one lawmaker spoken to at that time, didn't know was the shooter. but one lawmaker a was leaving the field early and had been asked by the bystander, those out in the field, are they republicans or democrats. we have been able to confirm that two victims from the shooting who are at gw hospital are in critical season. steve scalise from the state of louisiana is at med star hospital. he's currently in surgery. prior to surgery he spoke to his wife. he was in good spirits. mo brooks who was on the scene at the field who used his belt as a turn kwitt is in the field right now. i want to turn it over