NJ congressman was at Democratic team practice as shooting unfolded
WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell was practicing with the Democratic baseball team as the shooting was going on at the Republican practice in Virginia.
"I was on the field this morning for Democratic team practice when we heard about the horrific shooting across the river in Virginia," the North Jersey Democrat tweeted. Pascrell's office said their practice was at Gallaudet University in Washington.
Pascrell is the team's hitting coach after playing for several years.
U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., was shot and wounded by a rifle-wielding gunman Wednesday morning at the Republican congressional baseball practice just outside of Washington in Alexandria. Several 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 and later died. In all, five people were taken to area hospitals, including the suspect, Alexandria police said.
Pascrell is the only member of the New Jersey congressional delegation who plays or coaches on either team. He told NorthJersey.com that news of the shooting came in as an alert on someone's iPhone.
"Soon as we saw that, we got everybody off the field into the dugouts," he told the newspaper. He said a Capitol police officer was with the team and additional security was brought to the field to escort the team off the field.
Pascrell joined with other members of the New Jersey delegation in expressing their thoughts about the incident and prayers for the congressman.
"My thoughts are with my friend Steve Scalise, Republican team staff, and the brave Capitol Police officers, who sprang into action. An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us. We stand as one against this senseless brutality."
Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno was in studio with New Jersey 101.5's Bill Spadea less than an hour after the shooting and called the shooting frightening.
"Nothing was worth what happened this morning," Guadagno said, adding incidents like this scare her own security detail because of concern over copycats.
The Republican and Democratic teams were both practicing for Thursday's annual charity Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park. The game will be played as scheduled.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.