tv MSNBC Live With Velshi and Ruhle MSNBC June 14, 2017 8:00am-9:01am PDT
be. but they're still a long way from confirming what the motive is. as i say, many people told us they don't see this as an internationally inspired terror act. >> pete williams in our washington bureau. pete, thanks. we're going to be, obviously, in touch with you on and off as we learn more. this is the top of the 11:00 a.m. hour eastern time. the news we are on the air to cover today started just a few minutes after 7:00 eastern time. when, of all things, there was a baseball practice going on on a baseball diamond. municipal field ini alexandria, virginia, a bit of a ways away from capitol hill in washington. this was a practice that featured rather well-known members of congress. both parties were planning on playing in the annual congressional baseball game. one of those events that uses
sports to mix together politicians from different political parties. usually, they draw quite a crowd. usually a good time is had by all. a man, believed to be a single shooter, a single gunman, approached the field, and the details are not nailed down. they get a little fuzzy after this. apparently asked about the party persuasion of the people he saw before opening fire. now, weapon, caliber, number of rounds, all of that is yet to be determined. as you look at these pictures, a lot of the people standing around, especially in baseball garb, jerseys, hats and what have you, are members of congress. five people were transported by emergency medical services from the baseball diamond. the one factor that may have ended this early and cut down on
injuries and loss of life, steve scalise, the new orlenean, the majority whip in the house of representatives, was part of the team. was planning on playing in the game. because he was there -- there he is on the left -- because he was there, he brought with him his security detail from the u.s. capitol police because he is in leadership. he qualifies for one. those officers are armed and trained. they engaged the shooter. they were later joined, three minutes later, by elements of the alexandria police force. as a result, this was put down rather quickly. now, unfortunately, we have several people hospitalized, including law enforcement, and including house majority whip steve scalise. hit by a round, apparently, in
his left hip. he was said to be in surgery and in stable condition. taken from the scene. you saw a local medevac helicopter landing in an open field there. that may be actually the park service helicopter that was landing in that field. they are very fortunate in the washington, d.c. metropolitan area to have first rate emergency responders, both career and volunteer. they went to work today. kasie hunt is standing by to talk to us on capitol hill. kasie? >> brian, nice to see you. although terrible circumstances, obviously. i'm here with congressman rodney davis of illinois. sir, you witnessed the terrible events that unfolded. where were you when this all started? >> i was up to bat. heard a loud noise, what i thought was a construction site
dropping a loud piece of metal. the next thing i heard was, r , "run, he's got a gun." i ran into the dugout, with others who made it there before me, and realized it wasn't the best place. dispersed out for more severe a -- secure areas. witnessed something i never thought i'd witness. going to a baseball practice for a game we do for charity. >> how long did it last, would you say? how long did it feel to you it lasted? >> i don't know. i'll wait for the report to come out on how long it lasted and how long the response took. but anything is too long. i felt like it was an hour, when you're running away from gunfire, and also trying to make sure that your situational awareness is there, too. >> you got a little scraped up it looks like. describe what the camaraderie is
on the team. do you know steve scalise? what is he like as a person? are you hanging out together? what does it mean as members? >> steve scalise and all the members of the team, we bond together. we also bond together with the democrats. that's the message i don't think gets out to the american public enough. we stand here in this hallway. i have just as many friends on the democrat side of the aisle. the majority of what we do in washington is bipartisan. but the disagreements over major policy issues are what make america great, but it is the political hate and the rhetoric that we've seen that's ratcheted up and that's got to stop. that's why i'm here talking to you. we have to stop the rhetoric and the hate. today has to be america's breaking point, where republicans and democrats come together and say, enough is enough. we are americans. we govern together. we choose our leaders. whether we agree or disagree, that's what makes us great. we need to send a message today as both republicans and democrats. >> i'm just learning from our control room that we know now
that steve scalise, the majority whip, is out of surgery. your reaction, i think that may say it all. >> when you see your colleague laying in the outfield, knowing that he's been shot, what you just told me is phenomenal news. >> talk to me a little bit about the capitol police, what you saw, who you thhow they reacted >> true heros of this event are the two capitol police that were part of steve scalise's details. if they would not have been there, this would have been a massacre of major proportions, of innocent people at a park where innocent civilians walk their dogs. we have kids at practices. these two brave officers engaged with the shooter. i know one at least got shot herself. they're the true heros. they're the ones that every member of congress, and every staffers, the reason they're still alive today. >> i know i can hear what you're saying to me.
the congressman can't hear you. is there anything you'd like me to ask him about? >> just that he thinks if he can ever go back to an event like this return to the true spirit of this. this was just supposed to be about baseball. you know, every time we have an act of public violence, it chips away at our public innocence a little bit more. >> brian is asking, do you think that after something so terrible as this, that a game that really represents america's pasttime, can we go back to the camaraderie that existed before? >> the camaraderie exists. that's a misperception. we have great camaraderie between democrats and republicans. i urge you to ask the democrats aye served wi i've served with, number one, if they know me, and number two, if we've worked together. we work in a bipartisan away. we have to take this tragedy we saw today, that could have been much, much worse, and turn it into a positive, to let
americans know if you disagree with your leaders politically, that's okay. that's why we have elections. but let's not ratchet up the hateful speech. we see stories about policies are going to lead to the death of people. that's political rhetoric that has run amuck and has turned into hate. maybe the reason why we saw the senseless tragedy that we saw today. if it is, this could be the first political terrorist act that we've seen on our soil. we can change that. only we can change that as americans. >> congressman, one final question. do you think tomorrow's game should go on? >> absolutely, i do. we're americans. we need to come together as republicans and democrats. stand together and say, this is something we are not going to accept as normal. i would hope that anybody watching today would double down what they're giving to the charities that we're supporting in this game tomorrow and come out and show your support for both parties. show your support for the united
states of america. >> brian, i know i will, if the game goes on, be attending as i have many years in the past. >> kasie hunt, thank you. rodney davis, republican of illinois, thank you. as we look at the video that's coming in in snippets, there is a ymca across the street from these public fields. you saw some of the rounds that had gone in the windows. we have learned from the white house that the president will be speaking in about 20 minutes. a planned statement at 11:30. kristen welker standing by for us there. kristen? >> brian, the statement is going to take place in the diplomatic room. not clear exactly what the president will be saying. but these were his remarks earlier in a written statement. he said, our thought and prayers are with the members of congress, their staffs, capitol police, first responders and all others affected. we're also learning more about who the president has spoken to in the wake of this tragedy. according to a white house
official, the president has spoken to the speaker of the house, the senate majority leader, the wife of steve scalise, the chief of staff to steve scalise and the chief of the capitol police. the vice president has spoken with the speaker of the house, house majority leader, joe barton, senator flake and a member of the vice president's staff and a coach on the gop baseball game who was present. i can tell you that both vice president mike pence and president trump had speeches scheduled today, brian. both of the speeches have been cancelled, as they continue to monitor these developing -- this developing story, as we all do, all across the country. so we will be hearing from the president in about 20 minutes from now, just to set the stage here at the white house. i can tell you that top staffers have been in and out of meetings throughout the morning, as they have tried to determine what the reaction, what the response will be from the white house. outside the white house, pennsylvania avenue initially
had been closed to pedestrian traffic. lafayette park had been shut down. both out of an abundance of caution, brian, and the wake of that shooting. both of those have now reopened. but it is anything normal here behind the scenes at the white house. it is very somber. this is the president's birthday. initially, it was anticipated there would be a sense of celebration here. now, a very somber mood as they monitor these breaking developments, brian. >> kristen welker, thank you. as i said, we're likely to hear that expression, an abundance of caution, quite a few times throughout the day. i'm wondering from the control room what other interviews we have that we have received on tape from the scene or from witnesses who were members of congress. let me read to you from the "associated press," washington ap, a top house republican, steve scalise of louisiana, was shot and wounded by
rifle-wielding gunman wednesday at a congressional baseball practice just outside of washington. several other people were also wounded and at least two were in critical condition. capitol police officers who were in scalise's security detail returned fire and wounded the shooter, who was taken into custody. in all, five people were taken to area hospitals, including the suspect. goes on to say that scalise is 51 years old. number three house republican leader. first elected to the house back in 2008. reported now, and you heard kasie hunt mention this, reported now to be out of surgery. so that is a positive development. let's roll some of the interviews we've had from witnesses coming in this morning. we'll talk with our guests on the other side. >> taking batting practice,
shagging balls and the gunshot went off. it was louder than a normal gunsh gunshot. i don't know if it hit the fence or something. people started reacting and running toward the dugout. more gunshots went off. steve scalise was shot in the right field, between second and third, on the grass off the infield. had a staffer down. one of the other staffers was shot. i'm behind the fence, trying to help the capitol hill police engage or spot the guy. he is moving back and forth. they don't necessarily see where he is at. both of the officers engaged. one of them gets shot in the ankle and goes down. soon there after, alexandria police shows up and they engage the guy. he's down to a pistol at that point. they shot him. >> came out to practice, started shooting. shot at kelly, our third baseman, shot at steve scalise, our second baseman. he hit steve scalise.
scalise's security detail, capitol hill police, immediately began -- returning fire. alexandria police also came and immediately started returning fire. they shot the shooter. i think the security detail saved a lot of lives because they attacked the shooter. the heros are the capitol hill police, alexandria police and steve scalise's security detail. >> do you know what the shooter looked like? did you get a look? >> middle-aged man. blue jeans and a blue shirt. i think he was anglo. he had a rifle, and i think he had an automatic pistol. i wouldn't swear to that. >> -- what it must have been like in this setting, to --
>> look, there's going to be all kinds of -- look, i'm the manager of the team. several people, the security people were hit, one of our staffers were hit, scalise was hit. i talked to the speaker, talked to the capitol hill police. i'm sure there will be some sort of a general statement later on. luckily, no one appeared to be killed. again, i just want to thank the security detail because they saved lives. >> mr. barton, how long did it last? >> five to ten minutes. there were dozens, if not hundreds of shots fired. it was scary. >> did you take cover? >> of course we did. >> where did you take cover at? >> we got -- some of us were in the dugout. some were on the ground. i was behind tend nd the dugout. my son was behind an suv and he was very brave. my other son was in the batting cage, and he was also very brave. >> glad you guys are okay.
>> unbelievable. as we said earlier, that's his son, jack, 10 years old. went to baseball practice with his dad this morning in suburban virginia. ends up taking shelter under an suv after rounds start being fired in the middle of the field. laura russell is with us. she lives nearby this practice facility, the baseball diamonds, and heard the shots. laura, take the story from there and what you then saw. >> sure. hi, brian. thanks for having me on. i was in the ymca parking lot, actually, after a workout, around the 7:05 time. talking with a friend. heard this loud boom. you know, my friend and i said, what is that? sounds like a starter pistol but it's 7:00 a.m. no way in a neighborhood like
that. there were two -- now i know they were gunshots -- two right after the other. when i looked over at the baseball field, i saw -- almost certain it was a teenage boy on home plate and he just dropped. at that time, i didn't know if he was shot or if he was just taking cover. either way, that afimfirmed to that it was gunshots. before that, it was basically 12 shots i heard. i turned and ran through a cut through to the street that's right behind the ymca called mason avenue. at that point, i'm just hauling to get home. i live a block away, like you said. then the gunfire, which i now understand to be the detail returning fire, was at my back. you know, i could hear it coming this direction. before i knew what it was, you know, now i know, i didn't know if there were multiple people coming in my direction.
then i hit my home, and it had been about 30 shots with still gunfire going, as i'm letting myself into my building. then calling 911 and still, there's shots going. i think it is very accurate, people reporting, you know, over 50, 50 rounds. >> you know, i've been trying to -- i'm familiar, obviously, with the washington, d.c. area, having lived in northern virginia for a short time. i keep trying to explain this to a national audience. it's really any town usa. it is a prosperous, beautiful suburb with people doing what people do at 7:00 in the morning. >> yeah. i call this little place, del ray, i call it maybury. the bulletin boards, i laugh sometimes. what's posted is cute stuff. you don't hear about anything bad. people are asking questions
about, what day is recycling? t to. missing cat, missing dog. to have this happen, it is beyond what i'd imagine for this neighborhood. i don't think it is a reflection of what this neighborhood is. unfortunately, you know, a targeted incident. >> yeah. >> in the moment, it does not feel that way. i was really running for -- i was really running not knowing -- i hate to say -- i was running for my life. i didn't know what was going on. i had -- i barely had time to turn to my friend and say, are you going to be okay? are you going to follow me? i just knew i needed to get out of there. >> it's really unfortunate that places like your community get forever associated with an act of violence. it is the last thing we want for a place as nice as where you live. >> mm-hmm. >> anyway, i'm sorry for what
you've been through. i'm quite certain your area wasn't targeted for any reason. it looks like, looks like, we have a solo individual, an emotionally disturbed individual. and this was his day to act out and your day to run the other way. but, laura russell, thank you for being part of our coverage. >> thank you. >> as i mentioned, clint watts is part of our coverage, veteran at the fbi. clint, what is likely happening. all the spinning machinations that we don't see beneath the surface. we heard from the special agent in charge of the capitol d.c. district of the fbi. where are agents moving? how fast? >> the big part right now will be crime scene. they're going to focus on that, making sure they get all the evidence gathered up. >> rounds, shells. rounds that are embedded in trees, grass, all that?
>> the next part, all eyewitnesss will be interviewed. the third part, that i'm sure is going on with a different team, is you have the suspect interview. sounds like he has lived. i'm sure they're trying to look into his motivations. the other thing you're wanting to look at, especially in these acute situations, is was there another plot? we often focus on these incidents that come up, but these individuals oftentimes layer multiple schemes together. you want to make sure that everything is cleared. there's no other threats to human life that are out there. i think those are the three big things they'll try to put together. no accomplices. are there any other leads that need to be run down? was this actor alone or part of a group? you always want to look forward, you know, as much as you're looking back. >> vis-a-vis my conversation with pete williams. is it fair to assume there is a battering ram going into an apartment or house in illinois, if it turns out that this person is from illinois and traveled to washington, responding to whatever signal he has to do
whatever he did today? >> i'm sure. i'm sure any residence, workplace he might have had. also, if he is from illinois, what route did he take? doesn't sound like he's local to virginia. how did he plan this out? was he acting alone, or was he working with others? i think those are the critical components right now. >> if, indeed, it turns out to be something like 50 rounds that we're talking about, is this a case where you will run down every round, every bullet that either fell short or went long and is embedded, is in the ground, is in the trees, is in the side of a building, a car? do you account for all of it? >> yes. they'll try to gather as much as they can. i'm sure there will be certain aspects of the bullet forensics they won't be able to recover. they'll want to make sure they're accurately, you know, documenting both sides of this shooting incident. you have capitol police. you have the alexandria police department.
they'll have to put forth their case and lay out their responses. that's as much for lessons learned as other things. as we've seen in a lot of police responses, and particularly in london recently, you're always trying to improve what you're doing in terms of your response, to make sure the public is safe. we're going to look at every aspect of this. that's what the forensic teams are doing right now. >> a veteran of the nypd is also with us. i'm looking at this video that continues to go by. i'm thinking, from a distance, how would you ever know these are members of congress? they're in kind of middle-aged guy baseball uniforms, like that. shirts that, in his case, say republican party. hats. they've got their mitts and bats. this is going to be a puzzle, to see if and why this man advanced on them, knowing who they were. >> well, as mr. watts mentioned,
we're going to look to the co-conspirat co-conspirators. someone had to reserve the field for the members of congress. there had to be a level of reconnaissance enacted by the shooter in this situation. so this strikes me as something he knew. the average person doesn't travel with long guns, two firearms to speak. so there's going to be a reconnaissance trail we need to look secondly, the co-conspirators. someone had to rent this field, so to speak. we also have to take into consideration the inner and outer perimeters, as mr. watts mentioned earlier. in terms of the trying to acquire the bullets fired. there are going to be people on the outer perimeter that will focus more towards the criminal investigation. the initial part was the reti retrieval of the injured or wounded people. that's been taken care of. now toward the criminal investigation, we want to see, how can we cooperate, the evidence and the information to where we can gain this -- gain
beyond a reasonable doubt in a criminal trial. now, we have the probable cause to make the arrest. another thing that came up, the individual's identification. oftentimes, you do have people that commit these types of acts that have fake identification. but the easy piece with this is you can make a quick assessment through the department of motor vehicles. from my understanding, they acquired a driver's license. so you can easily assess the dmv information, to tell if this is the individual or not. >> i'll cut you off right there. we are able now to talk to congressman ron desantis from florida, who was at the practice. congressman, i understand you feel now that you may have spoken with this gunman. you tell the story. take it from wherever the beginning is. >> so i was out at practice. i'm actually fielding ground balls at third. jeff duncan from south carolina is at short. steve scalise was at second. after we'd been fielding for ten
minutes or so, already taken dp, i go to duncan, let's beat the traffic and get out of here. we've had a good workout. duncan said, let's do it. we left a little after 7:00. the rest of the guys were still practicing. once we got into duncan's car, his aide's car, there was a gentleman that walked up to us, kind of a middle-aged guy, and wanted to know whether it was republican or democrats out there. duncan told them it was republicans. we both kind of shrugged it off. by the time we got back to the hill, when news broke, we immediately called each other and said, that guy was really -- we got to report that. so we report it to the capitol police. now having seen his photo, and i do believe, and i talked to jeff as well, we do believe that was the guy that has been identified as the shooter. the same guy that came up to our car before we pulled out five, ten minutes before the shooting this morning. >> his photo has been shared with members of congress like
you, not with us. so use your best powers of description and describe the gentleman to us. >> you actually could go on his twitter. he has a twitter account. james hodgkinson or something like that. it's on an image search. as soon as i found his name, i typed it in. he's a middle-aged, looks like late 50s, mid-60s, caucasian. little heavy set. that's similar to the guy we saw. i think the description fits very well. >> and i guess we're very thankful that scalise was there today because that meant his capitol police detail was there, which meant you had people around you who could return fire. it's almost too much to think about had you been just exposed to that incoming fire. >> that's right. as a member of the leadership, steve travels with his security detail. that includes, when it comes to baseball practice.
those guys stage behind the first base dugout and monitor things from there. the shooter was on the third base side, where we don't really have any of our members. everything is out of the first base dugout. they had to come across to interdict the shooter. had steve just not decided to come to practice this morning, the shooter was there, i think you're looking at way more people wounded and probably some people who would have been killed. you just would have had members of congress and congressional staff out on a baseball diamond with no way to defend themselves. >> congressman desantis, thank you very much. this has been a more eventful than usual morning for you. at least we all join you in being happy about the news that congressman scalise is out of surgery. thank you, sir, for joining us. incredible part of the story, that he may indeed have spoken with the man who later turned out to be the gunman. let's show you the scene at the white house, where a microphone is standing by and ready.
we are within the two-minute window, we've been told, to expect the president, who is going to give a statement on this. he was on twitter early, and then issued a formal statement about steve scalise and his wounds. you heard kristen welker talk about the phone calls he has made. the kind of usual round of phone calls to the wife of the member of congress, to the majority leader in the senate, the speaker of the house. this was not what anyone in washington thought we would be reacting to on an unseasonably warm morning in the u.s. capitol district. a baseball practice session for the republicans versus democrats annual charity baseball game. about as american as it gets in terms of a setting.
bunch of members of congress in their workout clothes and their baseball clothes. apparently, a middle-aged man approaches and asks what their party affiliation was. thankfully, it's a double-edged sword. because steve scalise, the number three ranking republican in the kind of the housem house management ranks, the majority whip was there and brought with him his security detail from the u.s. capitol police. they drive him around. they provide personal security. walk him in and out of events. because they were there, that meant police were able to return fire to this gunman. we keep hearing witnesses talk about the number of rounds fired in this seemingly endless volley that just -- when you're in the moment, it seems to go on forever. as many as 50, 60 rounds.
we keep seeing on this video tape loop on the left-hand side of your screen, these windows that have been shaderttered by incoming rounds. we believe some of these are in the side of the ymca that faces out to the fields. perhaps we were given too optimistic a time for the president's arrival at the lectern with the statement he has to read. so far, most of washington has avoided plunging this into the realm of the political. you heard the governor of the commonwealth of virginia talk about gun deaths in this country per day, a fact he originally got wrong but then corrected. clint watts, we were talking to you, a veteran of the fbi, before we were kind of waiting for the president. we're on a hair trigger here.
we might need to go to the white house at any moment. but this is -- you were saying this is all an evidence field for you now. and the white house being a national organization of 35,000 employees, you have the field offices and the ability to spread out from illinois, what is said to be the town of origin for this guy who has been identified temporarily as the gunman, all the way to the capitol region, where you have most of your resources. >> right. i think what you're obviously going to see is these quick leads that are pushed to the midwest. st. louis and springfield offices are quickly going to run this down. bellv bellview, if that is where the suspect is from, is right outsaad ou outside of st. louis. going to be on it in a hurry. the other thing to focus on, as we talked about before, is the reconnaissance. seems like the shooter wasn't exactly sure that it was republicans on the field, but he was definitely aware of it. this isn't a normal sort of
targeting that you'd see for a congressman. he's crossed the river, in virginia, there early in the morning. somebody may have helped him, i mean, do this. this is a lot of work for a lone shooter to do on his own. not impossible. maybe he is a good researcher and put it together. we've seen more organizing and activity around violent groups and violent actors over the past couple years than we have probably at any time since the 1960s and '70s. we have to really explore all these connections and make sure we keep the public safe. >> that detail is among the more chilling details, that he approached the field. it indicates, if these quotes are correct, that he had some knowledge of what this gathering was, that this was practice perhaps for this congressional baseball game, just quickly for viewers joining us, that's the white house on the right. obviously, we are waiting to hear from the president. could come at any moment. a while ago now, we were told we
were inside the two-minute window of availability to see him, to have him deliver this statement, which will be broadcast live by extension on all the television networks to a national audience. people having awakened this morning to this unbelievable, hard to grasp and hard to believe story at first. that there had been a shooting on a baseball field regarding a practice squad of republicans getting ready for the annual charity baseball game between the parties. as we wait for the president, and with the understanding we may have to go to it at any moment, so apologies in advance, let's bring in david thomas. yet another witness who saw the shooter and heard the gunfire. david, again, understanding we may have to cut you off, tell me when you first realized what was going on and take the story from there. >> so when i first realized what
was going on, i actually thought i was actually hearing things. it was just like the unbelief of it. until, i mean, i realized it was gunfire. i ducked behind my car and peeked around because my car was in the lot of the ymca. actually saw the gunman from behind the dugout just shooting. shooting his rifle, just letting it go. i was just like, oh, my god. i can't believe this is really happening. i mean, it's just unbelief. it is something you see on tv. you think it'd never happen to you. to look over and see him shooting, you know, towards the dugout. i seen people at home plate just scattering. i seen someone fall at home phthalate. -- plate and i realized it was really happening right now. so there was a nearby ymca bus in the parking lot near my car so i ran behind it for more cover. i don't know if he turned that way or what happened, where the gunfire came from, but i could hear some whistling of the bullets. it was one of the most terrifying and frightening things i could think of.
i couldn't believe it was going on. >> you've said you saw someone fall near home plate. how close -- could you tell who these people were? did you know what the event was? >> i didn't know what the event was. i go to the ymca to work out and train, and they always be out there. i get to this ymca at 5:30 and 6:00 in the morning and they were there practicing them when i first got there. i didn't know who these people were or what was going on. i see this gunman randomly shooting. i seen somebody fall and seen other people running. you know, taking shelter. that's when i realized this is an active shooting. this is going on right now. >> obviously, it was -- they say it was three minutes before alexandria police responded. >> i have no idea. it's like it's taking forever. i could hear the sirens. it took forever for them to get there. >> as you all know, shortly
after 7:00 a.m. this morning, a gunman opened fire when members of congress and their staffs, as they were practicing for tomorrow's annual charity baseball game. authorities are continuing to investigate the crime, and the assailant has now died from his injuries. the fbi is leading the investigation and will continue to provide updates as new information becomes available. congressman steve scalise, a member of house leadership, was shot and badly wounded and is now in stable at the hospital, along with two very courageous capitol police officers.
at least two others were also wounded. many lives would have been lost if not for the heroic actions of the two capitol police officers, who took down the gunman despite sustaining gunshot wounds, during a very, very brutal assault. melania and i are grateful for their heroism and praying for the swift recovery of all victims. congressman scalise is a friend and a very good friend. he's a patriot. he's a fighter. he will recover from this assault. and, steve, i want you to know that you have the parayers not only of the entire city behind you, but of an entire nation and, frankly, the entire world. america is praying for you.
america is praying for all of the victims of this terrible shooting. i spoke with steve's wife, jennifer. i pledged to her our full and absolute support. anything she needs. we're with her and with the entire scalise family. i have also spoken with chief matthew, doing a fantastic job, of the capitol police, to express our sympathies for his wounded officers and to express my add mmiration for their cour. our brave capitol police perform a challenging job with incredible skill, and their sacrifice makes democracy possible. we also commend the brave first responders from alexandria police fire and rescue, who
rushed to the scene. everyone on that field is a public servant. our courageous police, our congressional aides who work so tirelessly behind the scenes with enormous devotion, and our dedicated members of congress who represent our people. we may have our differences, but we do well in times like these to remember that everyone who serves in our nation's capitol is here because, above all, they love our country. we can all agree that we are blessed to be americans. that our children deserve to grow up in a nation of safety and peace. and that we are strongest when we are unified. and when we work together for the common good. please take a moment today to
cherish those you love, and always remember those who serve and keep us safe. god bless them all. god bless you. and god bless america. thank you. >> the president from the white house. the news there was the initial news that the assailant in this shooting has died of his injuries. presumably the fire returned by capitol police. we had congressman desantis on from florida. he mentioned this imagery that was up on social media. we are led to believe this is the photo of the man now dead, who opened fire on that field of republican members of congress, elected officials who were playing baseball, practicing this morning in preparation for their annual charity baseball
game. again, the assailant has died of his injuries. he was identified as being from the state of illinois. but, again, the investigation is just getting underway. we're joined here in the studio now by a veteran of the secret service and a veteran of the protective details of president bush 43 and president obama. talk about how this investigation begins, especially now that we've lost a component, which is the ability to question the gunman and ask, what were you thinking? what were you doing? >> right. you know, we do miss that component when we don't have the victim. but we're going to look at any digital footprints that this individual has left behind. social media, any post, any manifestos which sometimes we do see. the other thing we do have,
family, friends, relatives, employees. that's really, really important. you want to understand the person who commits this act. often when you have these types of incidents, active shooters, the first thing you're going to do is go in to interview right away immediate family members. talk to them. what's going on? did he say anything to you? did he express anything? the other thing we want to look at is any mental health issues. it does tend to be a component sometimes in these situations. so was he dealing with any mental health issues? was he diagnosed? did they know? were there any criteria? usually, if you look at previous research that's done on active shooter scenarios, there is always somebody or something that was there, this little f t footprint that lets us know, yes, there was indication this person was thinking this or saying certain things. perhaps political things. perhaps about, you know, how they felt about government. but they do tend to give indication in some way.
it is usually very rare to see that it just happens out of the blue and people are like, no, i had no idea, you know. so i think that is going to be the most important part of it. even talking to the employers. where did he work? to the boss, did this person show up to work every day? were there issues with other employees? how did he get along with anyone? medications, doctors, getting all the information. again, also, getting subpoenas for digital, right? you want to look at this person's search history, as well. what did he google? what was he has searching? how did he plan this? then the weapons used. how did he get these weapons? were they legally purchased? were they not legally purchased? what happened in this situation? so, yes, we don't have him, but we have a lot of other avenues to explore. we can put the pieces together. >> i also have to say, having been in and around washington over the years, we've seen an exponential rise in the number and rank of officials who now
get a or qualify for a security detail. the city is full of these. these are people who used to walk alone through the world and don't anymore. we have to count our blessings that this morning, there was a security detail with the u.s. capitol police with the majority whip of the house. >> yeah. you know, they were very fortunate. it does strike me a little concerning -- i can't speak to the intricacies of the capitol police -- but that they're going to this venue to practice baseball. you have these political officials going consistently. i am surprised that there was no fixed security team or personnel there, just to protect this area because we have a couple of things happening. one, there's a group of political officials, vips, going to this one location. >> yeah. >> they're going consistently. they're on a schedule, over and over again. >> yeah. >> so i am surprised that that
does not exist. i would think that now, i would think they would start thinking differently about how they do security. and this is our, you know -- gifford was the last congressional shooting we did have. that was a number of years ago. but this is surprising, as far as when it comes to security. manpower and resources are also an issue. how can you protect all these political figures? >> yeah. that's a great question in the modern era. evy, thank you. right before we went to the president, kind of without warning there, we were talking to an eyewitness to this. remember, this was just an unseasonably warm, beautiful june morning in a beautiful suburb of washington, d.c. the people in the area perhaps coming and going from their workouts at the ymca across the street. noticed the noise of the crack of the bat. typical sounds of a baseball
field, where republicans on the congressional team were practicing for the annual charity game. tom costello, among our correspondents on the scene, in the first minutes after this happened, has been talking to eyewitnesss there in alexandria. some of the conversations we have for you now. >> i have leaving the ymca, alexandria gym. someone saw there was a began outside. i looked outside and saw a man with a gun. hee he was crouched behind the wooden pieces of the sounds with an ak-47 in his hands. he was exchanging fire with police officers behind a black suv. >> how confident are you it was an assault weapon, ak-47 type weapon? >> fairly confident. >> can you describe the man, what he looked like, build, anything of that nature? >> sure. he was shorter. sort of stocky.
a caucasian man with white hair, white facial hair, wearing a blue polo. >> did he say anything? >> i was too far away and i was inside. >> can you describe the exchange of gunfire with police? what was happening? >> the officer that i saw was shooting over the hood of a black suv, behind the engine block. the gentleman was shooting from behind this wooden structure with the ak-47. >> unbelievable. as it always is when into american life on any given day comes an act of gun violence. pete williams, our long-time justice correspondent, is standing by. pete, i've just learned there were 22 members of congress assembled on that field. to the point our security experts have been mentioning here in our new york studios, sooner or later, that's an impressive number of elected officials who are all important to the operation of government in washington.
>> well, yes. i should say a couple of things here. i think that the -- based on the information we have, we have been told from a couple sources -- and we're waiting from a third source -- that the gunman had died. i think he died more than an hour ago at gw hospital where he was taken. obviously was shot several times and did not survive. so that changes the course of the investigation a little bit, since there's not going to be a prosecution of him. now the questions are, was anyone else involved? did anyone help him? did anyone know about this in advance? when and where did he buy the gun? the atf is tracing that right now. when and where did he buy the ammunition? those are all questions they'll try to answer. when did he get here? also, the motive. you know, it's pretty clear that this man, james hodgkinson from bellview, illinois, had strong political views, and he's expressed them over the years.
he's been very upset with republicans, with tax policy. writing letters to the local paper for at least the last decade. politically active. what that means here, i think, is very unclear. means here is . he had social media where he recently expressed strong political views, witnesses, law enforcement officials, when he walked up to the baseball field, he said are these the republicans or the democrats. why he came here in the first place. that is something that the fbi is trying to figure out. it will be awhile before we get the answers to that. >> i'm looking at the local paper, and they're reporting kind of flatly, the man that shot a congressman wednesday morning is from bellville.
they identify him as being a member of a number of anti-republican groups including one called "terminate the republican party." pete, to your original point, it goes from alexandria, virginia, how he crossed state lines, what was going on, that change in his life that motivated him to to an act of violence and now as you also mention his death removes a component, a possible interview component from the investigation. >> one thing we don't know is if they managed to get anything from him as he was being taken from the hospital dpieespite th fact that he was severely injured. we don't know if he said
anything on the way to the em s emt's. >> and pete, this is a difficult kind of violence to protect against. a man that is motivated by something in his own mind, armed to the teeth, yes, but all you can hope for is sharp minds and clear heads on the other end, and people who know a thing or two about safety. >> and just to go back peer, it will take some time to play out as well, the mere fact that he had strong political or not may or may not have been a
significant, political factor, it is too soon to answer that question. malcolm nance. malcolm, i was listening to your afa analysis in the 9:00 a.m. hour. we now know a lot more about this now deceased gunman, the weapon he perhaps used, and what are you most curious about now? >> i'm most curious about whether or not the type of attack that he carried out whether or not it was focused on steve scalise. was it a particular methodology laiding leading up to an assassination attempt, or was it just a geopolitical attack for people he saw as opponents. the picture is getting areaer, but it doesn't matter, this was
an attack on our democracy. it attacked our representatives. what we need to understand from this is this is what happens when you have an over proliferation of guns, and it is to be expected to a certain extent. >> 22 members of congress on one baseball practice field. i know they just anounlsed that the game will indeed be played tomorrow night. there was a standing ovation at the announcement. we can go ahead and assume there will be concentric rings of security and plenty of it tomorrow night, but that is probably the right out come, correct? >> yes, and i think it is great that the republicans and democrats are going to get together and give us a real symbol of national security. . from the other side, whether it
is a perpetration of, you know, socialist policies, it doesn't matter whatsoever. we have a representative body, they are in washington, they are not there to be attacked. we used the first amendment to show or displeasure. i think it is great that this republican and democratic game is something that we can all rally around as a nation. >> when investigators are don't, and they retrace his temperatures, put together what they believe is the than of events, the personality profile, perhaps, what will it all matter? who will get that information? how can we profit from that and i'm move? >> certainly it will benefit the security forces. the fbi will be taking the lead on this information, and there
will be a lot of lessons learned about it. but also, take a look at the larger picture. was this an act of terrorism? that is a question that people have been asking me all morning, and we won't know that until we can build up a picture of what was the intent of this shooter. again, there is no such thing has american terrorist or international terrorism, just terrorism. even that cannot be said, as you said earlier, an dep, emotional disturbed person, were they trying to make a point, or it was just an act of individual who was an disturbed individual. >> as we approach the top of the hour and andrea mitchell, let's
listen to some of the many witnesses for what was a busy area for when the shots were first fired. >> we heard pop pop pop, bullets came through the windows of the building that we were in, some man was running down the stairs and yelled "there is an active shooter in the parking lot, get down, get to safety, so we funneled into the locker room. we were in there trying to be safe. and then cement went out to see what was going on, and it was unbelievable. i saw a helicopter coming through, and you could see the holes spread out through the windows p once we heard the situation was caulk and secure, we saw glass all over the lobby
area, and we walked into the facility, and two bullet holes, one stuck in between two panels, between the glass panels and one that went through both panels and through the lobby area and into the pool area and punctured those areas, too, so it went through the actual facility. >> two young people remember that part of the complex there was the ymca in the fields. we should update you on steve scalise, a new oleanian. a married father of two, number three ranking official on the republican side. he was hit, a single round to
the left hip, there was pictures broadcast of him being evacuated from the scene. last we heard before the update, he was in surgery and in stage condition. we now now he is out of surgery and doing better, but as random as anything else, the attack where appareapparently this mid ages man, from the state of illinois, and aggravated with the republican party specifically approached the ballfield where members of congress, republican members of congress were practicing for the annual charity baseball game that we have learned in the past hour will go on tomorrow night as planned. fwaupz bits a good causes. course records received by nbc
news show the now dead assailants birthday is december 12th, 1950. he had a previous record of assault. the noon hour has arrived here in the east, and now to carry on our coverage, andrea mitchell at the top of the hour, thank you. >> thank you, brian williams on this day. we're reporting from washington where we're covering a major breaking story. a shooting at a baseball practice. a top member of congress, steve scalise among those shot. the gunman has died. at 7:09, a gunman opened fire on an early morning practice suggestion. preparing to play their democratic counter parts tort night at the aua