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Very thankful that gunman missed Trent Kelly before shooting Steve Scalise

JACKSON — A Texas congressman said a gunman first fired shots at Mississippi Rep. Trent Kelly and missed before shooting a Louisiana congressman while the Republicans practiced for a charity baseball game in a Washington suburb.

Rep. Joe Barton of Texas was at the practice Wednesday morning and witnessed the shootings that wounded Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise and several others in Alexandria, Virginia.

Scalise remains hospitalized in critical condition.

Mississippi’s two other Republican congressmen — Steven Palazzo and Gregg Harper — also said they are safe.

Palazzo is on the Republican baseball team but was not at practice because he was doing a radio interview. Harper is not on the team.

“A shooter came out to practice, started shooting,” Barton told reporters at the U.S. Capitol. “He shot at Trent Kelly, our third baseman. He shot at Steve Scalise, our second baseman. He hit Steve Scalise.”

Kelly told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal he was the closest person to the gunman when the shooting began.

“I am thankful and grateful for the grace of God or I wouldn’t be here right now,” Kelly said.

Kelly said he told investigators what he saw, but he would not discuss details in the newspaper interview.

“It wasn’t the first time I’ve been shot at, but I sure hope it’s the last,” said Kelly, a colonel in the Mississippi Army National Guard. “I thought when I left Iraq in 2010 that would be the last time I was shot at in my life.”