Security for Congress members, state officials highlighted after shooting

A Capitol Hill Police officer stands his post at the entrance to the House of Representatives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, June 14, 2017, after House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of La. was shot at a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Va. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
A Capitol Hill Police officer stands his post at the entrance to the House of Representatives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, June 14, 2017, after House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of La. was shot at a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Va. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

AUSTIN (KXAN/AP) — Following a shooting Wednesday morning targeting Republican members of Congress practicing for the annual Congressional Baseball Game in Alexandria, Val., KXAN reached out to Texas political leaders to find out more about security measures at their Texas offices.

“We can say that DPS is continually monitoring events involving potential public safety impacts across the state and nation,” Texas Department of Public Safety spokesperson Tom Vinger said in a statement. “We also adjust our level of vigilance to meet any potential or emerging threats, and will adjust our security measures as threats warrant.”

DPS says they adjust their level of vigilance and security measures to meet any potential threats. “We can say that DPS is continually monitoring events involving potential public safety impacts across the state and nation.”

According to the Associated Press, Republican Rep. Chris Collins of New York says he is going to start carrying a gun in public. Other members of Congress want beefed-up security at town hall meetings.

The AP reports the shooting highlights the vulnerability of members of Congress in public. Only the leaders of Congress get security details, while rank-and-file members do not.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-TX, addressed the shooting Wednesday on the Senate floor, where he credited the Capitol Police with preventing the situation from becoming “more serious (and) much more tragic” than it already was.

“While there is a lot we don’t know about this morning’s incident, it’s clear that this is a new environment we’re living in, and we need to do everything we can to keep our constituents safe when they visit us here on Capitol Hill, as well as all the staff and everybody involved,” Cornyn said.

Chairman of the Texas House Committee on Administration, Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, said “DPS is in charge” and the agency will make sure everyone, including lawmakers, staff and visitors remain safe.

Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller’s office said, “Commissioner Miller does not have a security detail nor is the TDA implementing any new plans for such a detail.”

Congressman Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, said, “Like the previous shootings in Austin of Senior APD Officer Jaime De Luna-Padron, in Tucson of my colleague Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and in Orlando of all those lost a year ago at Pulse, this is an appalling act.

“For now our prayers are for a speedy recovery for Congressman Scalise, Congressman Williams’ staffer Zack Barth, and our Capitol Police officers. And I am especially thankful that our other colleagues and staff at the ballpark are safe. I am about to attend a classified security briefing to obtain more facts.”

Rep. Lamar Smith offered his thoughts and prayers to the victims of the shooting.

“We are grateful to the special agents and area law enforcement officers for their quick response that saved many lives today,” Smith said in a statement to KXAN. “This tragedy should remind us of the need for less partisanship and hostility. Instead, we should focus more on solutions for the problems facing Americans.”

KXAN has not heard back from numerous other state leaders, but we will update this report as more information becomes available.

KXAN.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s