Close-Knit Virginia Community Prays, Walks Together After Shooting at Baseball Field

"We should all be together during this time"

For the Del Ray community in Alexandria, Virginia, a shooting at a neighborhood baseball field was unthinkable.

"It's where you know your neighbors. You know your neighbors' first name," Del Ray resident Karen Johnson said of the small neighborhood.

"I mean, it's Del Ray. This stuff doesn't happen in Del Ray," Emily Busse said.

But on Wednesday, the unimanginable tragedy happened. A gunman opened fire on a congressional baseball practice Wednesday morning at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park, shooting four people.

"When my first son was 3 years old, we live just across the street from Simpson Field and he learned how to play baseball on that field," Michael Wilker said.

The wounded include House Majority Whip Steven Scalise; Matt Mika, a lobbyist for Tysons Foods; Capitol Police Special Agent Crystal Griner; and Zack Barth, an aide to Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas). Scalise and Mika were in critical condition as of Wednesday night.

The guman, James T. Hodgkinson, was shot and killed by police. Hodgkinson is believed to have been living in the Alexandria area in a white cargo van since March, FBI special agent Tim Slater said.


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After a long day of shock and sadness, the Del Ray community decided to walk together.

"We should all be together during this time," Busse said.

Alexandria's mayor, police chief and sheriff walked with residents and voiced their support for the small neighborhood that made national headlines.

"We're here for you. We care about you and we're going to spend time out here with you," Alexandria Police Chief Michael Brown said.

The walk ended in prayer.

Father John Roddy found it hard to find the words to speak about the tragedy.

"I hardly know what to say on a day like this," he said during the prayer. "We pray father that you turn it into something good for humanity."

And while somber, residents made it clear they would not let the violent act break their bond.

"We're a community and we're a community because we're strong together," Johnson said.

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