Society

Combat Surgeon Rushed Baseball Field To Help Victims

| by David Bonner

A former combat surgeon was among the first to help House Majority Whip Steve Scalise after he was injured in the June 14 shooting at a Washington, D.C.-area baseball field.

Republican Rep. Brad Wenstrup of Ohio, who is a medical doctor and veteran of the Iraq War, provided medical care to Scalise after he was shot in the hip, reports WLWT.

"Fortunately, there was security detail there and Capitol Hill police or we all would have been vulnerable," Wenstrup said. "I'm sure they saved who knows how many lives. Let's pray for those who got hit today. ... You never expect a baseball field in America to feel like being back in a combat zone in Iraq, but this morning it did."

Scalise, a Republican of Louisiana, was among several people shot when a gunman opened fire at the baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia, where congressional Republicans were practicing for an annual charity baseball game against their Democratic counterparts, notes The New York Times.

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According to police, a call came in at 7:09 a.m., and officers responded in three minutes. Two officers engaged the gunman and returned fire, according to the authorities.

More than a dozen Republican members of Congress and several coaches were at the park. In addition to Scalise, three others were wounded and taken to the hospital, the police said.

Kentucky Congressman Rand Paul was also at the practice and later released a statement:

As you have likely heard a gunman with a rifle opened fire on Congressmen, Senators, staff and police this morning. I was there and am shaken but unharmed. Many people likely would have died this morning if not for the bravery of the Capitol Police. My thanks to them are inadequate but heartfelt. They never hesitated to put their lives on the line to save everyone. Please pray for those who were injured.

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The suspect, James Thomas Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Illinois, died in a hospital after the shootout.  

Wenstrup, 58, earned a bronze star for his combat duty, and remains a colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve, according to his official website.

Outside Wenstrup’s congressional office in Ohio, Anderson Township trustee Andrew Pappas said he was proud of the way Wenstrup reacted. "Horrible situation but right guy at the right place at the right time," Pappas said. "If you know Brad, he’s not one to sit back and it didn’t surprise me when I heard the reports."

Sources: WLWT, The New York Times / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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