Ron DeSantis describes 'strange encounter' with man before congressional baseball shooting

Posted June 15, 2017

Desantis says he left the field around 7:10 a.m.

U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) has released a statement about today's shooting in Washington, D.C.

President Trump tweeted that Scalise, "a true friend and patriot", was seriously injured "but will recover".

U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, whose 6th District covers portions of Volusia and Flagler counties, told WESH 2 News a man asked him if the group on a Virginia baseball field were Republicans or Democrats.

He said he has no doubt the man he spoke with was the shooter, based on photos he's seen. "It was a little odd". But before he did, he had a "very, very strange" encounter in the parking lot. The gunman, identified as James T. Hodgkinson, was shot by police and died at a hospital.

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But an odd thing occurred just as DeSantis was leaving the practice in a auto with fellow Rep. Jeff Duncan.

Congressman Mo Brooks said he was on deck, preparing to bat, when the shooting started. Reports are that five people in total were shot.

"It's a feeling of vulnerability when you're in that position and you have no way to defend yourself against somebody who has a rifle and eventually I saw somebody come around the side of the building with a handgun", Loudermilk said.

"In a weird way I kind of feel guilty that I left early..." "I felt like I was back in Iraq, but without my weapon", Wenstrup said. Remarking about the man's appearance, DeSantis said he was "the type of guy if you were walking down the street you wouldn't pick him out or think anything of him". DeSantis is one of four congressmen from Florida who are on the team.

"It's not a secret that we're there", Rooney said.

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DeSantis said he was thankful that Scalise travels with a Capitol Police security detail. He said he hadn't heard much chatter about colleagues arming themselves with personal firearms in light of the incident, though members are allowed to bring guns into their congressional offices.

When the gunman began firing, he was behind a fence on the third base side of the field. DeSantis played on a Florida team in the Little League World Series and at Yale. Georgia's Republican senators also weren't there.

Authorities have not divulged any information about the suspect in the baseball practice shooting, and Tim Slater, the FBI special agent in charge of the investigation, said in a press conference that it was too early to say whether the gunman targeted the lawmakers.

"I'm glad we're playing..."

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