'Dozens and dozens of rounds fired': Flake shares eyewitness account of shooting

Senator Jeff Flake responds to the shooting that took place at the Republican congressional baseball practice.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A gunman opened fire on a Republican congressional team baseball practice Wednesday morning, hitting House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and others.

Arizona's Sen. Jeff Flake was among those practicing at the field, but he was not injured. 

In an interview with 12 News over the phone, Flake shared his eyewitness account of the shooting.

READ MORE: Rep. Steve Scalise, others shot at congressional baseball practice

"We were on the field doing batting practice and all of a sudden heard a loud shot, sounded a lot like a gun, but we weren't sure," Flake said. "It was a rapid succession after that, a gunman near the third base dugout just opened fire on the field."

Flake said Scalise was playing second base and dragged himself off the field after being hit. Several others, including Flake, took cover near a dugout.

"It was at least 10 minutes with dozens and dozens and dozens of rounds fired by the gunman," Flake said.

Flake said Scalise security detail returned fire from behind where they took cover, but unaware if they were friendly or not as bullets flew -- Flake remembers repeatedly yelling out "Are you friendly?"

They hit the gunman, but not for "quite a while," Flake said.

Once he heard the gunman was "down," Flake said he ran out to Scalise to apply pressure to his wound. 

Flake said he was handed a phone shortly after and called Scalise's wife to let her know he was OK.

Scalise was in stable condition, according to a statement from his office, after being shot in the hip and was undergoing surgery.

RELATED: Lawmakers react to shooting at congressional baseball practice

Police said the suspect was taken into custody and later identified as James T. Hodgkinson.

In a statement following the incident, President Trump said the gunman had been killed.

Flake's office released this statement:

As the center fielder on Republican Congressional Baseball Team, U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) was present during the shooting this morning at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in Alexandria, Va. Flake was standing along the first base line when the gunman opened fire. As the gunman and Capitol Police exchanged gunfire, Flake took cover in the dugout. While in the dugout, Flake helped treat one aide who, after being shot in the leg near center field, managed to get into the dugout. Flake estimates more than 50 shots were fired. Immediately after the gunfire stopped, Flake ran onto the field and began to apply pressure on Congressman Steve Scalise’s (R-La.) wound. After medical personnel arrived, Flake retrieved Scalise’s phone and made the first call to Scalise’s wife to notify her of the shooting. He did to ensure that Mrs. Scalise would not find out about the shooting through the media.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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