Yesterday’s shooting in Alexandria could have very well ended with more than just the gunman in a coffin — and the ramifications for America would have been dire. Rep. Barry Loudermilk joined Glenn on radio Thursday to describe how close the would-be assassin’s bullets came to hitting him and from what source his protection came.
“I’ve seen some bad shots in my life, but for as many targets that were out on that field and [for him] to have a rifle, I believe, Divine Providence played a role in keeping, you know, people safe yesterday. It is remarkable the number of rounds that were fired and the low number of people that were hit,” Glenn said on radio Thursday.
Rep. Loudermilk agreed.
“Oh, there’s no doubt. I mean, I witnessed it myself. This guy was not just rapid firing, he was choosing his targets,” he said.
Loudermilk went on to detail how bullets landed just feet from him.
“We all ran toward the first base side, many of the members dove in the dugout. As I was exiting the field a round hit the ground to my left, about a foot or two from my left foot, and then one hit the fence as I was going out. Those were clearly targeted at me.”
Enjoy the complimentary clip or read the transcript for details.
This is a rush transcript and may contain errors.
GLENN: We have an amazing story to tell of what I believe is Divine Providence. I just — I want you to think of one thing. Imagine what America would be like today, if yesterday the leadership of the G.O.P. and the majority of the G.O.P., 10 percent of the G.O.P. and Congress were dead. If we had coffins that we were facing today instead of one coffin of the shooter and one still in critical condition, what would the conversation be like today?
I’ve often said, you’re going to wake up on a Monday, and by Friday, your country will be completely different. I believe that is coming. But I do believe we saw Divine Providence happen yesterday. So that didn’t happen this week.
Barry Loudermilk was there and shot at several times. Representative congressman Barry Loudermilk is on with us, right now.
GLENN: Congressman Barry Loudermilk is joining us now. Congressman, how are you?
BARRY: I’m doing — I’m doing well, Glenn. I appreciate you having us on and, you know, giving the coverage for this story. What a shrill moment. And your opening monologue there, I haven’t really thought of in that perspective. But I can attest, God was on that field with us yesterday.
GLENN: And that’s what I wanted to talk to you about, Barry.
First of all, how is your wife and family?
BARRY: They’re doing well. It was amazing. Of course, my cell phone was in my chief of staff’s car in the parking lot. And when the — you know, when the shooting began, I was on the field near home plate. When the second shot went out, we knew something was — one of the players said, “He’s got a gun.” Some of the players went into the dugout. I went outside of the field and took cover behind a shed. I wanted to get to a position to see where the shooter was.
So I — you know, with all this playing out, I had had no communications, other than just voice. When I got done, my chief of staff called my wife. She didn’t know what was going on. But my wife immediately got — my three children all grown, they got together. And I talked to them yesterday.
And then last night, at 2:30 in the morning, my daughter and her husband showed up at our apartment in Washington. They drove all night long to be here for the game tonight, just to show support.
GLENN: Barry, let me just ask you this question first: Who is responsible for the shooting yesterday?
BARRY: Well, you know, obviously a deranged, demented individual was the one who carried it out. But I think it is an attitude. It’s a — it’s sensationalism. It’s demonization of people that is going on for political purposes.
GLENN: And do you — do you believe, Barry, that that is from the left only, or the left and the right as well?
BARRY: I think there is cases of that coming from both. Clearly, recently, there has been more coming from the left at this point because, you know —
GLENN: The power.
BARRY: The president.
BARRY: And, you know, we’re trying to change things. You know, the left has made a lot of progress in the last eight, ten years. And we’re now in a position to begin to reverse that.
And instead of just dealing with the issues, let’s get to the podium, let’s get in front of the House and let’s debate the policy of each issue — many have resorted to demonizing the other side. There are people back in my district carrying around signs in the back of their vehicles saying, “Loudermilk is killing me,” because we’re trying to repeal Obamacare.
When that type of rhetoric continues and it continues and you get somebody who is unstable to start with, they start believing these things. Then they take action like this gentleman did yesterday.
I found out yesterday evening — he had been planning this for a while. He had been stalking that field. And last night was his last opportunity. That was our last practice of that field. This morning, we had planned to be practicing at the National Stadium, as we do every year. Of course, that’s been called off this morning. But we’re still going to play the game this evening.
But that was his last opportunity. And he had been planning this for a while. And when you read his Facebook page, there are things as bad or worse that is posted on mine and other members all across — all across Congress.
GLENN: Barry, let me — let me take you now to Divine Providence.
Not only was this guy crazy, this guy was a violent figure for a very long time. His — his — what was it? His stepdaughter or his — one of the foster daughters actually set herself on fire. Poured gasoline on herself. Set herself on fire to get away from him. He was a horrible human being. But had a history of gunplay and violence in his life.
But I will tell you — I’ve seen some bad shots in my life. But for as many targets that were out on that field — and to have a rifle, I believe, Divine Providence played a role in keeping, you know, people safe yesterday. It is remarkable the number of rounds that were fired and the — the low number of people that were hit.
BARRY: Oh, there’s no doubt. I mean, I witnessed it myself. This guy was not just rapid firing. He was choosing his targets. When we finally — you know, we identified there was a shooter there, he was over by the third base fence. That gate was locked. He couldn’t get in.
We all ran toward the first base side. Many of the members dove in the dugout. I went out — as I was exiting the field around to the ground of my left, about a foot or two from my left foot, and then one hit the fence as I was going out. Those were clearly targeted at me.
When I took refuge behind this wooden building, I came around, put the building — this is a small shed, basically. Put it between me and where the shooter was at that time.
He maneuvered around and got a more clear line of fire to us. But I had — the Capitol Police vehicle was about 20 feet in front of me. When I got around the corner, I looked and I saw Matt Micah, one of the baseball staff members that helps us work out — he was laying on the ground on his back with a chest wound. He was shot in the chest and was bleeding very badly.
Myself and others, every time we tried to advance to go help him, we were driven back by gunfire. I was told last night in a team meeting we had — you know, I’m just focused — we’re trying to figure out, what can we do? How can we get engaged here? We knew we were being targeted.
At one moment — as I found out last night, Matt took a second arm in his arm as he was laying there. And it appeared that the shooter was trying to shoot underneath that vehicle to us to hit us. And one of those rounds hit Matt in the arm.
As soon as they took down — I was watching — I saw him take down the shooter. The Capitol Police were truly heros. One of the officers actually moved away from the vehicle, went into the parking lot, and exposed hisself to draw the fire away from us.
When he finally took the gunman down, I ran over to Matt. I could not believe he was still alive at that point, as bad as that bullet hole was in his chest. And I laid my hand on his head, and I prayed for him.
And last evening, Speaker Ryan called me. He says, “I just want to tell you, Matt is going to be okay. It’s a miracle that that round missed his heart. Just barely nicked a lung. Shattered some ribs. He lost a tremendous amount of blood. But he’s going to make it.” And they expect a full recovery. That’s a miracle and of itself, when you see how badly he was laying there. Shots just barely missing people.
Look, the fact that we had two officers, had not — had not those two protection detail guys for Scalise been at the field, it would have been, as you described earlier today — the discussion today would be a lot of former members of Congress.
GLENN: Barry, the — the news of Scalise yesterday was confusing. He was — he was in critical condition. Then he was stable. Then he went in for surgery. And then he came out in critical condition. The last I heard is he’s still in critical condition.
Do you have any insight on how he’s faring?
BARRY: No. That’s the last I have heard. I checked again this morning. We have — we have a very active prayer group that is in Congress. We have a Wednesday night church service in the Capitol Building every week. There are dozens of Bible studies. There are numerous prayer trains. They were all activated.
Last night, we were told to continue to pray for Steve, that he still needed a lot of prayer. And that’s the last —
GLENN: Is that because he lost so much blood? Do you know — he was shot in the hip. So did he hit an artery?
BARRY: I don’t know if he hit an artery. Another act of Divine Providence was Brad Winstrep HEP who was a doctor in the Army with combat experience. He’s one of our ballplayers.
As soon as we were able to get — you know, being able to move, I went over to Matt. He went out directly to Scalise, he and Senator Flake. I was able to get a med kit out of the — the capital police vehicle. So I was able to take him a med kit. And I could tell Scalise had bled a lot. I think some of the concern was, where it went in, it damaged some of his organs as well. And so the concern was stopping the bleeding. They said that he has actually received several transfusions at this point. So he’s not out of the woods yet, but, you know, Divine Providence is not an instantaneous or one-time thing. It’s continuous. And we need another act of that, with these — these two that are in the hospital.
GLENN: What should the conversation in America be today?
BARRY: I think it should be of civility. It should be, we are one nation under God.
We need to be able to refocus our debate on issues on policy, not personality. And we need to take a strong look at — at, how do we rebuild our nation? And how do we make sure that we’re secure?
I told a news media outlet — wanted to talk about gun control. And my response to them was, I’ll talk to you about gun control when you get shot at and you don’t have a gun to defend yourself.
But these things are the things that — and I already have some groups out there taking that comment on both sides and running it out of proportion.
That’s the type of thing we need to stop. We need to not — we need to stop monetizing our dysfunction as a nation. There are too many groups out there that will take something twisted and turn it just to raise money. To — to incite people.
Look — and we also need reeducation of some people out there, to the Constitution. What it truly means.
What is the actual role of government?
But that needs to be a civil discourse going forward. And I think if you can set aside the demonization, the rhetoric, and get down to policy, we win every time.
GLENN: Barry Loudermilk, congressman who was shot at several times yesterday. And is safe. We have you and your family and all of the families of those involved and all of the injured in our prayers. We thank you so much, sir. And thank you for your service. And thank you for being on the program today.
BARRY: Glenn, thank you. And you’re a good friend, I appreciate what you do.
GLENN: You bet. God bless.