NAMES IN THE NEWS : Hatfield Saw Shooting, Kept Mum

From Times wire services

Sen. Mark O. Hatfield (R-Ore.) says he witnessed a shooting in the nation’s capital but sped away without notifying police.

“I didn’t report it because (police) are so overwhelmed. . . . All I’d be able to say is somebody shot at somebody else,” Hatfield said in today’s Salem Statesman Journal. “I’m not saying I shouldn’t have reported it, but at that one time and place my thought was to escape--get out of there.”

Hatfield said he and his family were driving to their Washington home from a restaurant on March 14 when they saw a man shoot at another across the street about six blocks from the Capitol.

“I slammed on the brakes as soon as I saw a person on the side of the street,” Hatfield said. “Five shots rang out. We heard the shots and saw the flare of the gun.”

He said the man at whom the shots were fired began running, then limping, toward a waiting car. The car sped away when the man climbed inside, he said. As soon as the gunman lowered his weapon, Hatfield said, “Wham--I took off.”