MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Florida’s congressional delegation acted with shock and horror to the shootings but one member in particular is left to wonder how close he came to being shot after his face-to-face encounter with the gunman before the rampage.
“I’ve had a number of my colleagues tell me you are lucky you left when you did because you would have been the first one in the line of fire and so I don’t know that that’s really sunk in yet,” said Republican Congressman Ron DeSantis.
DeSantis who represents the area around Daytona Beach plays third base for the congressional team and left practice early to head back to the Capitol with fellow Republican Jeff Duncan.
“We did get confronted by an individual when we were in the car before we were leaving. He asked whether they were Republicans or Democrats out there, then when Jeff told him they were Republicans he turned and walked toward the field,” said DeSantis.
Moments later the gunfire erupted.
“Once he was identified and his photo was produced both Jeff, myself and Jeff’s staffer, who was driving, we all agreed that the individual that did the shooting was also the individual that came up to our vehicle and asked about the practice,” said DeSantis.
Soon after the shooting, members of Congress took to Twitter and shared their reactions.
Everyone was praising the Capitol Police, who were only there because Majority Whip Steve Scalise is a member of congressional leadership. Scalise along with four others were injured in the shooting.
“Had Steve just slept in this morning or had breakfast with the speaker and missed practice you would have had zero defense and you know I’m playing third, I’m pretty good with the glove, but that glove isn’t going to stop bullets from a rifle,” said DeSantis.
Many members hoped this would mark a change in the tone of politics.
“Increasingly Americans think violence is the way to resolve political differences or to address political differences and if that’s going to change in our country it has to start changing here,” said Republican Congressman Carlos Curbelo.
“When we disagree, we do so in a way that is mindful of the fact that there are people who can hear us, whose decisions could be impacted by the weight of our words,” said Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.