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GOP baseball shooting

Democratic congressional baseball team sheltered for an hour after learning of shooting

Rep. Tim Ryan at baseball practice in 2015. (Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call)
Rep. Tim Ryan at baseball practice in 2015. (Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Tim Ryan, who plays shortstop on the Democratic congressional baseball team, had a chilling thought as he and other players huddled in the dugout at Gallaudet University in northeastern D.C. awaiting word of when they could safely leave the field. 

At first, "we didn't know a whole lot other than a handful of people were hit," the Ohio Democrat said in an interview. 

Ryan said as they sheltered, players learned that GOP Majority Whip Steve Scalise had been shot, and that it was Scalise's protective detail that stopped the shooter. Ryan said his thoughts immediately went to the lone Capitol Police officer who parks in the lot near the field during practices. 

"If Scalise had a breakfast or something else this morning and wasn't there, you would have had 15 or 20 dead congressmen and 10 dead staff people. There is nothing that would have stopped this guy," Ryan said. 

Eventually a sniper team arrived and surrounded the area to allow lawmakers to leave the dugout with protection, he said. 

Just as disturbing for Ryan was the fact that Rep. Joe Barton's children were in the dugout during the shooting. "It's just unbelievable to think about," he said.

His own children have helped with the team in years past, and many members bring their families to town for the event. 

Organizers of the annual Congressional Baseball Game have not yet said what will happen tomorrow night when the match is scheduled to take place at Nationals Park. But Ryan said members of Congress are hoping the game is still on.

"We're encouraging even more people to come," he said.

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