Alexandria residents reacted to the shooting Wednesday morning with stunned confusion and concern after hearing gunshots shatter the silence of their quiet neighborhood.
The shooting, which injured Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana and three others, occurred during a practice session for the annual congressional baseball game which is scheduled for Thursday night.
An unnamed man who lives near the park described his initial confusion after hearing the opening shots ring out while mowing his lawn.
“If you couldn’t tell there is transformers on these polls that go out when it’s air conditioning and it’s hot so my thinking was its air conditioning or there is something bad happening,” the 62-year-old Alexandria resident told reporters. “My thoughts go to the YMCA that I’m a member of that I helped design … So you go ‘oh my god’ maybe they are in the Y beginning to shooting people.”
The resident added that he believes that “America has lost its moral compass.”
Owen Britton was at the YMCA across the street from Eugene Simpson Stadium Park where the congressmen were practicing when the shooting began.
“At one point a bullet came into the YMCA, passed through several panes of glass and landed in the pool area. Another bullet lodged inside between two panes of glass on the front of the building,” Britton told reporters.
Britton described the shooter as behaving calmly during the course of the attack.
“He was crouched behind cover and moving in a crouched way as one does in combat. He did not seem to be crazed from what I could see from what I could see; he was fairly methodical,” Britton said. “He wasn’t randomly shooting at civilians from what I saw. He seemed, to me, to be focused on shooting at the, I assume, Capitol Police officers, who were behind a black SUV exchanging fire.”
Christopher Esget, a local pastor at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, described the importance of coming together as a community in the aftermath of the attack.
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