Rep. Jack Bergman describes shooting at baseball practice: 'I just basically went into a low crawl'

Bergman calls Scalise's security detail 'true heroes'

Rep. Jack Bergman

Michigan Rep. Jack Bergman was among members of Congress who were participating a charity baseball team practice Wednesday morning when a gunman opened fire upon them. 

Bergman, who represents northern Michigan's 1st congressional district, said he was about to take the batter's box when he heard the first shot.

"I was standing right next to the batting cage. It was my turn to hit next ... first shot rang out and of course you look, and first question is what is it?" he said. "Then the second shot rang out and we knew at that point it was gunfire, not fireworks. You could tell where it was coming from ... it was somewhere behind the third base dugout."

The shooting happened at a baseball field in the 400 block of East Monroe Street in Alexandria, Va. Republican congressman were holding practice ahead of a charity baseball game scheduled for Thursday. The annual game dates back more than a century.

Rep. Steve Scalise (R) of Louisiana's 1st congressional district and current House of Representatives Majority Whip was shot. He is listed in stable condition. Two Capital Police officers were shot as well. Those officers were with the dignitary protection unit.

Bergman, 70, was not injured. He said he and others crawled into the dugout to escape. 

"You could not see from my position who it was, how many, whatever. So I just basically went into a low crawl and crawled behind the first base dugout and listened," said Bergman. "It appeared as though the shooter was moving around the outside of the perimeter moving towards the backstop, so once that was the situation then I along with a couple of other folks who were behind the dugout crawled around and went down into the dugout in case the shooter came all around behind the backstop."

Bergman, a retired United States Marine Corps lieutenant, said several of the people at the game had some sort of training, either military or law enforcement, for a situation like this. But he never would have expected this to happen at a baseball field. He said Scalise's security detail took down the gunman, calling them the "true heroes today."

"Everybody was jumping at that point and I was focused on my field of vision knowing where the gunshot sound had come from. So I did a quick scan and then kept moving because people were pretty much going in every which way," he said. You don't really expect that at a baseball practice at a public field. There are several of our folks who have experience whether it be in law enforcement or in military, and by in large there were people stepping up, especially Congressman Scalise's security detail, they are the true heroes today for taking the gunman down."

Two other Michigan Republican congressman were at the field -- Mike Bishop (8th District) and John Moolenaar (4th District). They also were not injured. A suspect was taken into custody. 

RELATED: Michigan Congressman Mike Bishop tweets 'lone gunman opened fire on members of Congress'

About the Authors:

Rod Meloni is an Emmy Award-winning Business Editor on Local 4 News and a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional.

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.