Texas Congressman Roger Williams (R-TX, 25th District) provided an update on the shooting in Alexandria, VA, that injured one of his legislative staffers and a Republican colleague.
Williams, who was at the field where the Republican Congressional baseball team was practicing for its annual charity game, shared his account of the gunman opening fire on the group.
The perpetrator kept “shooting, and shooting, and shooting,” Williams said.
“All we had was balls and bats to defend ourselves,” he added.
In a tearful press conference, Williams thanked the members of the Capitol Police on security detail for Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA, 1st District). He mentioned without their presence, the scenario could have ended much differently.
“They risked their lives to save ours,” Williams said of the officers, as his voiced cracked with emotion. “All of America should be grateful every day for law enforcement around this country.”
“As we have seen there are those who want to talk about what is wrong with America, how this could have been prevented, and so on. Those people, I believe, are wrong,” Williams stated. “This showed everything that is right with America… in the toughest of times we come together and stood as one.”
Williams wore a boot on his right foot, saying he would be on crutches for six weeks after diving into one of the dugouts and injuring his ankle.
Zack Barth, Williams’ legislative staffer who was injured by the gunman, was “doing exceptionally well, and is in good spirits,” Williams said. Barth, a UT Austin graduate, worked on the Jeb Bush presidential campaign, and formerly served roles in the Governor’s office and the office of former Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX, 19th District).
Barth was “constantly asking how everyone on staff is doing,” Williams mentioned, saying that he took some time off to be with family.
When asked about tightening security for lawmakers, Williams argued that he believed access to public officials was important.
“If you have a group of congress people, 25 people, 10 people, Republicans, Democrats, and they’re in a group I would like law enforcement to begin to think more serious about more protection,” he said, referring to the group as “sitting ducks.”
Williams said he hoped Wednesday’s shooting would provide an opportunity to create dialogue about future safety precautions for officials and the public.
“These are serious times, there’s a lot of people that are angry out there,” Williams said. “Somehow, we need to be able to dial the rhetoric back, where people can agree to disagree, and do it in the right way. I hope that what happened last Wednesday is a starting point where people will begin to understand that.”
He said numerous representatives on both sides of the aisle reached out to offer well wishes after the incident.
“Hopefully in my world, in the congressional world, we can lead the way of saying ‘we agree’ or ‘we disagree’ But it’s not where anger is the reason for it, fear, and that sort of thing. There’s got to be a day to start it. I’m hoping Wednesday is the day that will move us forward.”
“You go back to Gabby Giffords, you go back to 9/11, you go back to all these things that brought us together and then things change, but I’m one of those that thinks yesterday is gone forever, tomorrow never comes, it’s about today. Let’s try to fix it,” he stated.
“I’m going to do what I can, to begin to help that process,” Williams added.
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