U.S. Congressman Tom Rooney (R-Okeechobee) said he “just got lucky” that he wasn’t on the softball field when a gunman opened fire wounding U.S. Congressman Steve Scalise and four others Wednesday.
In an interview with NewsChannel 5, Rooney said, “I’m in a little bit of a shock because I’ve never experienced anything like this before.
“I’m still standing here in my baseball clothes to be honest with you so I don’t know if it’s fully sunk in yet,” he said.
Rooney is the first basemen on Republican Party’s softball team and Scalise is the second baseman.
Rooney said the team has been practicing mornings for about six weeks in anticipation of the annual game they play against the Democrats. He said he normally stays for the full practice, but today was different. It’s the last day of school and he told his wife he would drive their children to school today. He said he left practice early, which was just a few minutes before the gunman opened fire.
“I just got lucky because being first baseman and Steve playing second, we’re right next to each other so I think that’s why my wife is extremely upset right now because she knows right now that I’m standing right next to him usually,” he said.
Rooney said he was still trying to grasp what had happened. “At baseball practice it doesn’t really dawn on you that you need to be situationally aware of a possible gunman or something like that. It never went through my mind.”
He said he doesn’t want this to alter the way he lives. “I don’t want some crazy guy who was absolutely loaded for bear to create mass casualties today to change the way that I live my life.”
He said he knows it sounds a little strange, but he wants the softball game scheduled for Thursday to go on as planned.
“I don’t want us to change what we do for a living based on this one lunatic,” he said.
After the interview House lawmakers said the Congressional Baseball Game is still on for Thursday.
Rooney also spoke to CNBC in which he admitted that he was "pretty emotional" about Wednesday morning events.