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GOP baseball shooting

Why Capitol Police were with Rep. Scalise at the congressional baseball practice in the first place

 (Cliff Owen / Associated Press)
(Cliff Owen / Associated Press)

The president's Secret Service detail is a constant and visible reminder that even though the possibility of an assassination may often be out of sight, it is never out of mind.

For most members of Congress, the threat of a personal attack is less visible. They're offered protection when they're on the Capitol grounds, but don't receive extra security elsewhere.

No police were present when then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona was shot and seriously injured while meeting with constituents in a supermarket parking lot outside Tucson in 2011. In fact, that's often the case at such congressional meet-and-greet events around the country.

There are a few exceptions. The leadership of the House and Senate are never without protection from the Capitol Police. 

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), the majority whip and third-ranking GOP member of the House, is one of nine lawmakers who have security details in Washington, whether while in transit or at events like Wednesday morning's congressional baseball practice, where he and other Republican members of Congress were targeted by a gunman.

Scalise and four others were wounded, including two Capitol Police officers who have been credited with saving Scalise's life.

"Scalise’s security detail and the Capitol Hill police immediately returned fire, and Alexandria police also immediately came and began to return fire. They shot the shooter. The security detail saved a lot of lives because they attacked the shooter," Rep. Joe Barton of Texas said.

Scalise had been on second base when the shooting began. Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama described Scalise as "crawling into the outfield, leaving a trail of blood" behind him.

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin identified the Capitol Police officers as David Bailey and Crystal Griner.

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