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Wenstrup Used Army Surgeon Skills To Aid Wounded Congressman

US House of Representatives
Rep. Brad Wenstrup

Cincinnati Congressman Brad Wenstrup, who was a combat surgeon, was pressed into action Wednesday morning during the shooting at the Republican congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Va.

The Republican representative, a U.S. Army Reserve colonel who served at an Army hospital in Iraq in 2005 and 2006, was the first to reach Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisana, who had been shot in the leg by a gunman who sprayed dozens of bullets across the crowded ball field, wounding five.

Scalise is the House Majority Whip, the third ranking Republican leader in the House.

Once Capitol Hill police killed the gunman, Wenstrup said he ran out to second base, where Scalise lay on the ground.

"He was conscious and he had been shot in the left hip," said Wenstrup. "I started tending to his wound like I was still in Iraq."

Wenstrup praised Capitol police for taking out the gunman and the emergency responders who showed up at the scene quickly.

The Capitol Hill police, Wenstrup said, would not have been there had Scalise not been a member of the House leadership.

"Steve Scalise comes with Capitol Hill police protection and if Steve weren't there, two things – one, he would not have been hit, and, two, we wouldn't have any protection and I shudder to think what that would have looked like," Wenstrup said.

The Republicans were practicing for Thursday's annual Congressional Baseball game at Nationals Park in Washington. The game between congressional Democrats and congressional Republicans is a tradition in Washington that dates back nearly a century.

Wenstrup said his Republican caucus Wednesday made it clear the game will go ahead as planned.

"That was a unanimous decision," Wenstrup said. "We're not going to let this guy beat us. When you attack one of us, you attack all of us."

Wenstrup asked Americans to pray for the victims and for the nation.

"These things are not good for America," Wenstrup said. "We have far too many things in common that we should be focusing on and I hope that this might open some eyes so that we do that."

Howard Wilkinson is in his 50th year of covering politics on the local, state and national levels.