U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann interviewed Wednesday by NBC following the shooting. NBC photo
U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann has played on the Republican team for the Congressional Baseball Game for seven years. On Wednesday, Fleischmann and a group of GOP congressmen were practicing at Eugene Simpson Stadium Field ahead of the congressional ballgame for charity.
Fleischmann describes the charity fundraiser as a 'Field of Dreams,' because when the congressmen take the field they leave the politics in the dugout.
At a time when the team is normally excited to have their final practice, Wednesday turned into a day of sadness, as Fleischmann described.
"A barrage of gunfire from the gunman towards us. Literally, he had to get off about 50 rounds it kept coming and coming and coming," Fleischmann said.
Tennessee's 3rd District Congressman said he heard a loud noise and a crash. Eventually, he realized it was much more than that. He estimates there were 50 to 100 rounds fired. It was the furthest thing from his mind while on a baseball field.
"At one point in time, just for me, utter disbelief and intense fear," Fleischmann said.
Most of the injuries Fleischmann and several others practicing happened inside the dugout as the ran from the shooter. Fleischmann injured his right hand as he dropped to the floor and ran to the dugout for safety.
Four people were shot including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana who is still listed in critical condition. The gunman, 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson was killed. The lawmakers were practicing in Alexandria's Del Ray neighborhood in Virginia.
While some are scared, the congressman echoed what others have said, adding that the American people won't live in fear. It's why the Congressional Baseball Game will go on as planned Thursday night.
"We cannot allow our way of life to be compromised by bad people," Fleischmann said.
This isn't the first attack Fleischmann had a connection to. In 2015, a terrorist shot and killed five service members at two military installations in Chattanooga. The congressional representative was in Washington then and recalls feeling 'numb' when he got the news. While that event had a direct impact on him and his constituents, he said the attacks in Alexandria hit closer to home for him.
"The Carnage I witnessed was first person, witnessing many of my dear friends wounded and severely injured. So it was a completely different event," Fleischmann explained.
The attacks have brought the conversation around to gun control to some politicians. However, Fleischmann made his stance clear that he does not believe this is a gun control issue.
"The bad people, whether it's with a bomb, a gun, a knife are sadly always going to be able to pick their weapon, what we need to do is defeat the bad people," Fleischmann said.
Fleischmann said he plans to play his fellow lawmakers on Thursday's annual charity game.
"We will show the American people tonight that we are unified as a great nation and we will play baseball," Fleischmann said.