ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Little Leaguers for teams Harris Teeter and Fort Hunt scurried to take their positions on the field at Eugene Simpson Park Tuesday night. It was the first game played on the Alexandria ball field after a gunman targeted Republican members of Congress last Wednesday, critically wounding House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., and injuring four others before police fatally shot him.
“This is a happy moment to be here, but it’s also bittersweet in that our thoughts and prayers are with Congressman Scalise,” said Alexandria’s Mayor Allison Silberberg.
Members of the community said they were happy and relieved to have games played again on the fields that had been closed for several days while police combed the park for evidence related to the shooting.
“These fields are made for kids to play baseball on, so for them to get back on and play baseball is a huge significance,” said Paul Miller, operations director of the Alexandria Little League and a dad with three kids in the league.
The manager of the Republican congressional team, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), returned to the park for the community ceremony, six days after he evaded the gunman’s aim.
“I feel very blessed that I can walk around. I was laying right down over there behind the dugout; the shooter was right over here,” the congressman said, pointing a few steps away to home plate.
“If it hadn’t been for the Capitol Hill security and the Alexandria police, I was a sitting duck,” Barton said.
The choir from TC Williams High School sang the national anthem and first responders threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
Bill Euille, former mayor of Alexandria, added, “This is about love, respect and coming together to fight hate.”