DesJarlais, Cooper describe feeling of unity at capitol after shooting

(AP Photo)

WASHINGTON (WKRN) – Tennessee lawmakers described the mood at the capitol after a fellow congressman was seriously hurt in a shooting just outside of Washington D.C.

News 2 spoke with Congressman Scott DesJarlais who said there was a feeling of unity among everyone.

“On the House floor where we were just a little bit ago, with Speaker Ryan and Nancy Pelosi addressing the House, it is a unified mood right now,” he explained.

He added, “People were shocked that this happened. I spoke with a number of my colleagues that were at the baseball field this morning and it was pretty chaotic. They said that there are lots of shots being fired and they were trying to take cover. They were just very grateful that there was someone there to return fire in the form of the security detail and capital police otherwise we are certain there would have been much more damage and probably several lives lost.”

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DesJarlais came into office shortly before Gabby Giffords was shot in 2011.

“She was in the same class as me and that incident shook all of us. There was a lot of divide within the country, and right now we are seeing the same thing so it does remind us to be vigilant when we are out in the public,” he said.

News 2 also spoke with Congressman Jim Cooper, who also described a feeling of unity at the capitol.

“They opened the session with a prayer and with members of congress of both parties holding hands to reinforce the message of unity and concern for the victims of the shooting,” said Cooper.

“It is really scary when there is any shooting in a neighborhood or workplace. It is especially scary on Capitol Hill, when you know there are so many threats and so much security. This turned out to happen in northern Virginia a few miles away so it was not on the capitol grounds, but when you have friends in both parties, you don’t want them to be threatened. We had a few years ago, a good friend Gabby Giffords who was nearly killed by a shooter in Arizona. It more unusual for a shooting to take place here in Washington,” he added.

House GOP Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana and five others were injured in the Wednesday morning shooting.

Click here for complete coverage of the shooting in Alexandria.