Just a week after nearly being gunned down in a hail of bullets at a baseball field in a suburb of Washington, D.C., U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, R-Austin, held an emotional press conference at the Texas Capitol about the attack that left a senior Republican lawmaker near death.
“We were attacked by a gunman Wednesday morning at baseball practice,” he began. “As we have seen there are those who are going to talk about what is wrong with America” — his voice cracking with emotion — “how this could have been prevented and so on. Those people, I believe, are wrong.”
“It showed everything that is right with America,” he added. “It shows that in the toughest of times, we come together and stand as one.”
Williams recounted the story of the attack which began around 7 a.m. Wednesday. He was out by first base, hitting baseballs towards fellow U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise when the first shots rang out, he recounted. He dashed to a nearby dugout and managed to escape without without being hit.
The gunman hit Scalise in the hip, critically injuring the chief Republican vote counter in the U.S. House. Medics rushed him to a Washington-area hospital in critical condition, where he underwent several surgeries and is slowly recovering.
One of Williams’ staffers, Zack Barth, also was caught up in the shooting.
Barth was out in the field, catching balls when the gunfire erupted. The University of Texas grad and Houston native heard the gunshots and hit the ground. Gunfire seemingly exploded around him in a series of pops, which he vividly described in a series of television interviews afterward.
One of the bullets struck his leg, but he managed to make a run for the dugout and landed in Williams’ arms. He was released from the hospital later that day and is expected to make a full recovery.
“He is doing exceptionally well and is in good spirits,” Williams said Monday. “He is constantly worrying about others, instead of letting us worry about him.”
Williams said: “I could not be more proud to have him in my office.”