Sleep has been tough to come by this week for Congressman Barry Loudermilk. He was on the baseball field in Alexandria, Va. Wednesday morning preparing for an upcoming congressional baseball game when a shooter opened fire.
"As I was running off the field, the ground was erupting by my feet with the bullets actually hitting the ground," the 11 District representative recounted.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, a staffer, lobbyist and capitol police officer were all hit. Nobody died, but Loudermilk and other congressional representatives are sure it would've been much different if Scalise's security detail had not been there that morning.
'I was doing what I could to not get killed' | Scene at Congressional baseball shooting
"We would be having a lot of funerals at this point," he told 11Alive's Chris Hopper in an exclusive interview. "I would have a widow and two granddaughters that would just know of pictures of their grandfather. There would be a lot of those stories today."
In just one day after the shooting, Republicans and Democrats played that game at National's Park in D.C.
"We lined up on the field as one team," Loudermilk said. "Not Republicans on one side, Democrats on the other. We spread across the field and locked arms. Why? Because we're human beings."
Now, Loudermilk is back in Atlanta, still processing what happened.
"They don't know me, they don't know my grandkids, they don't know the type of person I am, but he was targeting something that had been built in his mind, that he had created to be evil," he said.
The he is accused shooter James Hodgkinson. He was shot by police during a gun fight and later died. He had history on social media of lashing out at President Trump and other Republicans, including 6th District Candidate Karen Handel. However, investigators still haven't identified a motive.
Loudermilk said Republicans and Democrats have to work to change the contentious political environment despite their differences.
"I'll take them to task on the policy but I won't call them evil I can call their ideas wrong but I will not attack their character and I will not try to demonize them to the people of America," he said. "Let's weigh those differences on the house floor in debate, not on a ball field in gunfire."
Loudermilk said he returned to the practice field, the site of the shooting Wednesday. He walked through it all again, step-by-step. He's writing it all down too, hoping to put it behind him, move forward, knowing how lucky he is to be alive.
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