None of the Congressional representatives from the Delaware Valley was caught in the shooting incident at a baseball practice Wednesday morning in Alexandria, Virginia. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and two Capitol police officers were shot.
U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan of Delaware County is a pitcher on the GOP team, which meets the Democrats in an annual charity game.
He’d pitched the day before, so he wasn’t at the morning practice, but he’s been in touch with teammates who were there.
Because Scalise is in the Republican leadership, he travels has a Capitol police security detail.
Meehan said, in this case, that mattered.
“I know the field well because we practice each day. There’s a third base dugout, which I’m told is where the shooter was,” Meehan said in a phone interview. “And there were at least a half a dozen members huddled in the first base dugout just 20 yards away. But [the gunman] was prevented from moving forward by the presence of the Capitol police.”
After exchanging fire with the gunman for several minutes, Meehan said, police arrested him. The White House said he died of injuries sustained in the shootout.
Chester County U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello wasn’t there, but had a close call.
Costello, who plays on the Republican team, said he missed the 6 a.m. ride he was supposed to catch to practice. Costello said he went to his office and starting working with the television on in the background.
“Forty-five minutes later, I heard in the background, baseball practice, shooting, and then I heard the word ‘Congress,’ and I looked up, and it was the field that we practice at,” Costello said.
Had Costello caught his ride, he could have been in the line of fire. He plays shortstop for the team where he would have been steps away from Scalise, who was shot playing second base.
U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle, who represents Philadelphia and Montgomery County, plays on the Democrats’ team. He said he always looks forward the annual game, a tradition more than 100 years old.
“It’s really one of the premier ways that Democrats and Republicans still come together in Washington,” Boyle said. “So to see the game now marred by this bizarre tragedy is just stunning.”