Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama was one of the witnesses to a shooting at the WMCA baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia, where members of Congress were practicing for the annual Congressional Baseball Game. Brooks said he saw House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, of Louisiana, shot in the hip.
The 63-year-old Brooks has been in Congess since 2011 after a long career in the Alabama House of Representatives. Hes’s currently running for the Alabama Senate seat Jeff Sessions vacated to become President Donald Trump’s Attorney General.
Brooks is married to Martha Jenkins and has four children.
Here’s what you need to know about Brooks and what he says he saw at the shooting. This is a breaking story and will continue to be updated.
1. Brooks Said Scalise Was Shot in the Hip & 2 Capitol Police Officers Were Also Shot
Brooks told CNN that he witnessed the shooting at the Del Rey area in Alexandria. Brooks said he saw Scalise shot in the hip. He also said he saw two Capitol Hill police agents shot.
Sources told CNN that the shooting appears to be a “deliberate attack.” Alexandria Police said on Twitter that a suspect was in custody and “not a threat” at this time.
Brooks described the gunman as a “middle-aged white male.”
“I see a rifle, then I see a little bit of a body and then I hear another ‘blam’ and then I realized there’s an active shooter,” Brooks told CNN. “At the same time, I hear Steve Scalise over near second base scream. He was shot.”
Law enforcement officials told the Washington Post that the suspect was identified as James T. Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois. President Donald Trump said in a statement that the suspect has died from his injuries.
Senator Rand Paul told CNN that “it would have been a massacre” if Capitol Police were not there. Senator Jeff Flake added that “50 (shots) would be an understatement, I’m quite sure,” noting that police returned fire.
“The Vice President and I are aware of the shooting incident in Virginia and are monitoring developments closely,” President Donald Trump said in a statement. “We are deeply saddened by this tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the members of Congress, their staffs, Capitol Police, first responders, and all others affected.” Trump also issued a tweet.
2. He Said He Used His Own Belt as a Tourniquet to Help a Victim
Brooks also told CNN that be used his belt as a tourniquet to help one of the victims. He said there were several congressmen and congressional staffers on the ground. He helped the one who was wounded.
“The gun was a semiautomatic,” Brooks said. “It continued to fire at different people. You can imagine, all the people on the field scatter.”
“There must have been 50 to 100 shots fired,” Brooks added.
Brooks told CNN that he saw Representative Brad Wenstrup, a doctor, also help victims on the scene at the shooting.
Scalise is the first member of Congress to be shot since former Rep. Gabby Giffords of Arizona was shot in January 2011. The shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
3. Brooks Is Running to Replace Jeff Sessions in the Senate
Brooks is currently running in the 2017 special election to fill out the rest of Senator Jeff Sessions’ term. He’s running against Luther Strange, the former Alabama Attorney General who was appointed by Governor Robert J. Bentley to represent Alabama in the Senate with Richard Shelby until the election is held in November.
As AL.com notes, Brooks has received endorsements from several prominent conservatives, including Fox News host Sean Hannity, radio host Mark Levine, the Tea Party group Alabama Patriots and House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows.
The primary election is on August 15, with a runoff if necessary on September 26. The general election isn’t until December 12.
4. He Did Vote for the House Republicans’ American Health Care Act
Brooks was among the House Republicans who voted for the American Health Care Act to replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. He was one of the Freedom Caucus members the second version of the bill was designed to please.
However, Brooks opposed the initial versions of the American Health Care Act. Brooks said in a statement that:
As much as I would like to vote with many of my Republican colleagues in Congress and in the White House (most of whom privately tell me they dislike the bad policy in this bill), I will vote against the American Health Care Act because it has more bad policy than any bill I have ever faced. I simply cannot, and will not, vote for bad legislation that hurts so many Americans solely because Washington friends and colleagues ask me to.
Brooks told CNN the version of the AHCA that passed the House that:
“[The plan] will allow insurance companies to require people who have higher health care costs to contribute more to the insurance pool. That helps offset all these costs, thereby reducing the cost to those people who lead good lives, they’re healthy, they’ve done the things to keep their bodies healthy. And right now, those are the people—who’ve done things the right way—that are seeing their costs skyrocketing.”
5. He Doesn’t Support Letting Illegal Immigrants Stay in the U.S.
Books has taken a hard-line in stopping illegal immigration. On his website, he boasts that he “consistently receives the highest rating in Congress from NumbersUSA on border security issues for his fight to stop illegal immigration.”
As the Montgomery Advertiser notes, in 2011, he said he would do “anything short of shooting” undocumented immigrants to stop illegal immigration. When he launched his Senate campaign, Brooks said this was a “hyperbole to emphasize my position, that I’m willing to do anything I can lawfully do short of shooting them because I want to enforce the law.”
Brooks does have a history of making other controversial statements. For example, in January, he told an Alabama radio station that criticisms of Jeff Sessions were part of the Democrats’ “war on whites.”
“It’s really about political power and racial division and what I’ve referred to on occasion as the ‘war on whites.’ They are trying to motivate the African-American vote to vote-bloc for Democrats by using every ‘Republican is a racist’ tool that they can envision,” Brooks said in January. “Even if they have to lie about it.”
He also told Al.com in 2014 that Democrats were “dividing America by race” and “are waging a war on whites.”
“We should not be dividing anybody based on national heritage or race,” Books said in 2014. “Rather, we should be bringing us all together. That’s what the melting pot ideal of America is all about. A person’s skin pigmentation is something acquired at birth that has absolutely nothing to do with the merits of the person of how one should vote.”
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