Rand Paul gives dramatic first-hand account of shooting

Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulGOP at decisive moment on Planned Parenthood Trump: ‘I cannot imagine’ GOP senators don’t back healthcare bill Sunday shows preview: Senate healthcare debate heats up MORE (R-Ky.) was in the cage waiting for one more turn at the plate when shots rained down on the field, hitting Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and at least four other people.

Paul told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that he probably heard 50 to 60 shots and saw Scalise "trying to drag himself through the dirt out into the outfield."

ADVERTISEMENT
Paul described a frightening scene at the baseball field in Alexandria, Va., with shots landing near aides who had taken cover. One staffer, he said, scrambled over a fence to get away from the fire. 

Paul, who couldn't see the gunman from his position, said he believed the shooter reloaded, and he described the gun as sounding like an AR-15.

He said lawmakers and aides were lucky that Capitol Police were at the scene. 

"One of the things that's really fortunate and probably why — everybody probably would have died expect for the fact that the Capitol Hill police were there," Paul said.

Capitol Police were at the scene because of the presence of Scalise, the third-ranking Republican in GOP leadership.

"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 it probably saved everybody else's life because if you don't have a leadership person there, there would have been so security there," Paul said.

"They do a great job. These are brave men and women, and we were really lucky they were there," he added.

Scalise is reported to be in stable condition and out of surgery following his injuries.

Paul said it is common for GOP lawmakers to get to the field as early as 6:15 a.m. He said people know that lawmakers practice at the field, and described a normal morning in which dog-walkers and other early risers share pleasantries in the morning. 

The senator said he had been ready to leave the practice but had told Sen. Jeff FlakeJeff FlakeSenate should seek to retain its 'blue slip' tradition for judicial nominees Progressives target Heller and Flake on Senate GOP bill The Hill's Whip List: Senate ObamaCare repeal bill MORE (R-Ariz.) that he wanted to take one more turn at bat before heading back into Washington, D.C.