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Texas Congressman Joe Barton Reacts To Shooting At Congressional Baseball Practice

Congressman Joe Barton Facebook page
U.S. Representatives Joe Barton and Mike Doyle spoke to reporters after the shooting at a congressional baseball practice. Barton manages the Republican team and Doyle manages the Democrat players.

Texas congressmen were among those at a baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia where a gunman opened fire on Wednesday.

Rep. Joe Barton of Ennis was at the baseball field with his two sons when dozens of shots were fired over several minutes.

He called the scene scary and choked up a few times as he described what happened.

“Some of us were in the dugout. Some of us were on the ground. I was behind the dugout,” Barton said. “My son, Jack, got under an SUV and he was very brave. My other son, Brad, was in the in the batting cage, and he also was very brave.

Later in the day, Barton addressed reporters with Democratic Rep. Mike Doyle. Barton manages the Republican congressional baseball team; Doyle manages the Democrats.

Both teams have been preparing for an annual game that was first played in 1909. The charity event will go on as scheduled Thursday.

Barton was shocked by what he saw at the baseball field.

“I just don’t see how people shoot people or kill people, attack people,” Barton said. “Here’s somebody that I’ve never met, and that to my knowledge had never met anybody on that field, and yet, he drove a fair distance, and when he started shooting, he was shooting to kill people.”

Both Barton and Doyle emphasized the importance of unity and of Democrats and Republicans helping each other after the shooting. Doyle said he’s invited Republicans to dine with Democrats.

Barton said his son, Jack, has grown up in Congress and has gotten to know many lawmakers.

“And when he comes on the floor, he’ll touch base with some of the Republicans from Texas, and then he’ll make a beeline to the Democrats side,” Barton said. “So he is an example of bipartisanship in himself, and he was at practice this morning and he had 25 dads. Everybody out there was looking out for him, not just me.”

Rep. Roger Williams was also at the practice. His district stretches from Austin to south of Fort Worth. Williams is a former TCU baseball star and coaches the Republican congressional team. 

Zachary Barth, a staff member for Williams was among those shot and is expected to make a full recovery.

Stella M. Chávez is KERA’s immigration/demographics reporter/blogger. Her journalism roots run deep: She spent a decade and a half in newspapers – including seven years at The Dallas Morning News, where she covered education and won the Livingston Award for National Reporting, which is given annually to the best journalists across the country under age 35.