People

Subscribe

Stay Connected

Subscribe

Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content

Crime

How a Combat Surgeon-Turned-Lawmaker Used His Wartime Skills to Help Save Rep. Steve Scalise After Shooting

Posted on

Ohio Representative Brad Wenstrup’s skills as a veteran combat surgeon kicked in after a fellow congressman was shot and several others were shot at a practice for a charity baseball game Wednesday morning.

After House Majority Whip Steve Scalise from Louisiana was shot in the hip by a lone gunman, Wenstrup rushed to his aid to administer emergency medical attention.

The physician, who served as a combat surgeon in Iraq, described rushing across the baseball field toward Scalise with Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake after the gunfire ceased.

“I felt like I was back in Iraq but without my weapons,” Wenstrup said on Fox & Friends. “Scalise was as brave as he possibly could be. He said he was thirsty. We made sure we got as much fluid — Gatorade and water — the quicker to an IV the better.”

He added, “If Scalise was not there, he’s the one with the security detail, we wouldn’t have had any protection, and God knows how bad that might have been.”

Rep. Brad Wenstrup
Brad Wenstrup/Facebook
Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/AP
Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty

• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.

“You never expect a baseball field in America to feel like being back in a combat zone in Iraq, but this morning it did,” Wenstrup said in a statement posted to Twitter. “Capitol police and emergency responders reacted swiftly and courageously – we are grateful for their presence. I urge the nation to keep Rep. Scalise and all injured in their prayers today.”

Five people were hospitalized, including the suspect and Scalise, when a shooter opened fire on the baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia, where about 25 GOP members of Congress were practicing for a game against their Democratic colleagues scheduled for Thursday.

The gunman, identified as 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois, is dead after exchanging gunfire with law enforcement, President Donald Trump said Thursday.

In a speech in the House chamber, House Speaker Paul Ryan named the injured victims as Scalise, Zachary Barth, Matt Mika, Special Agent David Bailey and Special Agent Krystal Griner.

Wenstrup ‘Knew Exactly What to Do,’ Rep. Says

Flake said that that after the shots rang out, he and others took cover in the dugout opposite from where the gunman was shooting, but the shooter, who Flake said had a rifle, “had a line of sight into the dugout.”

Flake said one Congressional staffer was shot on the field and ran into the dugout despite his wounds, and Flake and others worked to assist the staffer.

Meanwhile, Scalise had been shot in the hip, according to Flake, “dragged himself about 15 yards near second base onto the field and was laying motionless out there.”

Flake said he wanted to help Scalise, “but there were still shots going overhead from both sides,” between the shooter and the Capitol Police.

Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama said in a separate interview with CNN that at a certain point, the shooter came around the third base dugout towards home plate. That’s when he was shot by members of Scalise’s Capitol Police security detail.

Flake said that when he heard the shooter was down, “I ran out to Steve and started putting pressure [on his wound]. And then did that for about 10 or 15 minutes.”

Wenstrup and Flake stayed with the victim until medics arrived. Scalise is expected to survive.

“It was great having [Wenstrup] there because he knew exactly what to do,” Brooks said.

AP Photo/Alex Brandon
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty

The Congressional Baseball Game, which is scheduled for Thursday night. A tradition since 1909, the charity game features Democratic House members playing Republican House members. The game is scheduled to be held at Nationals Park.