Rep. Roger Williams back in Austin for first time since baseball shooting
Congressman Roger Williams came back to Austin for the first time since the baseball shooting last week in Virginia. He was injured while running for cover and his staffer, Zach Barth, was shot in the leg.
In a news conference Monday, Rep. Williams, District 25 (R-Austin), said Barth is in good spirits and is recovering with his family.
Williams said his own ankle wound will heal, but he will never be able to forget what happened on the baseball diamond that day.
"I think the thing that I think about most is what could've happen," said Williams.
At one point, he said he was within feet of the shooter while practicing with his colleagues. When he walked over and began throwing the ball with Congressman Steve Scalise of Louisiana is when the first shot rang out.
"Boom, boom, boom, everybody yelled, 'he's got a gun, take cover,'" Williams described.
His instinct kicked in. Williams said he dove head first into a dug out with several others. Barth was hit and another congressman used a belt as a tourniquet.
"This guy was shooting and shooting," said Williams. "He was trying to get to the first base side where we were but a gate would not let him get on the field."
The shooter may have found another way eventually, but Williams believes he didn't have time to. Two officers arrived and began to fire back.
"They literally kept this perpetrator from going on the field and massacring everyone," said Williams.
Williams said the shooter fired at least 60 rounds but had one hundred more on him. He said he hopes in the future when a group of congressmen and women are gathered together, having security there will be a priority.
"There were 25 congressmen and 15 staff members on a baseball field that was fenced in across from the YMCA," said Williams. "There was one way out and one way in and we were playing baseball. We were literally sitting ducks for someone who wanted to go kill people."
Williams calls the officers heroes and true patriots. He believes he's alive today because of their bravery.
"They risked their lives, to save ours. And they stepped forward when they could've easily stepped back," said Williams.
Of course the incident has inspired debate about gun control. Williams said he's not ready to talk about that, but says he thinks if one of his colleagues would have had a gun, the situation could have ended much sooner than it did.
He said he hopes the incident will also inspire people to "dial back the rhetoric" and agree to disagree without violence.