AUSTIN (KXAN) — The University of Texas at Austin alumnus who suffered a gunshot wound in the Congressional baseball practice shooting Wednesday spoke publicly for the first time Thursday on the Today Show.
Zack Barth took a bullet to the calf in the rampage. He’s since been released from the hospital.
Barth appeared alongside Rep. Roger Williams, R-Austin, who sprained his ankle during the shooting. Barth works as a legislative correspondent in Rep. Williams’ office.
Congressman Williams was hitting the ball during fielding practice when the gunfire started.
“I then went around and started hitting balls to [Congressman] Steve Scalise. I hit the first grounder to him and all of a sudden we heard this pop and a lot of us thought it might have been a car back firing,” said the Congressman.
“Then it became ‘pop, pop, pop, pop, pop,’ and people were yelling, ‘he’s got a gun,’ you know, ‘get cover,'” said Congressman Williams.
“I was pinned down in right field and at that point I got struck in the leg and made a run for it,” Barth said. “I was running for my life.”
Barth told the Today Show, after being shot, he made his way to the same dugout Congressman Williams was using for cover.
“All of a sudden here comes Zack,” the Congressman said. “Mo Brooks took his belt off and gave it to [Congressman Jeff Flake, R-Arizona] and I. We helped put a tourniquet on Zack’s leg to help his bleeding and then we stayed down.”
“I was bleeding pretty badly, but I was really just trying to keep my head down, keep everybody’s head down and prevent anything else from happening,” Barth said. “We didn’t know what was going on. There was a lot of uncertainty and we were just trying to stay alive.”
Both men thanked the Capitol Police officers David Bailey and Crystal Griner, saying that if not for their presence and quick reactions, things could have turned out worse.
“He knew he couldn’t stay there on the ground after being shot once,” recalls Barth family friend Cindy Stone. “He said the gunman did aim directly at him and he knew he needed to get up and move.”
Barth’s father immediately flew to Washington upon hearing the news. His sister, Ellen, says since her brother’s wound was a clean shot, he was treated and released within a few hours of the shooting.
“He just said that he was home and that he was in good condition,” says Ellen. “He was doing really well, he was able to speak to us throughout the day.”
Barth said he’s thankful he’s alive and appreciates all the support he’s received since the shooting.
“Plenty of people back home have reached out to me and the people around here on both sides of the aisle – we’ve got a great community up here on Capitol Hill – everybody is just lifting me up and I couldn’t be more blessed,” Barth said.
Zack Barth graduated from UT Austin in 2015 with a BA in government. According to Barth’s LinkedIn, he started working in Williams’ office in September 2016. Prior to that, he worked as policy assistant with Rep. Randy Neugebauer.