“The gun continued to fire” .@RepMoBrooks gives first person account of shooting at baseball field in Alexandria https://t.co/fWv9P3i9P9
— New Day (@NewDay) June 14, 2017

When a gunman opened fire Wednesday at a Virginia baseball field where Republican members of Congress were practicing for a charity game, TV trucks sped to the scene to broadcast live reports from their journalists. That's how breaking news coverage typically unfolds.

But the first people in position to report on the shooting were the members themselves. In the immediate aftermath, several congressmen took the role of journalists, calling in to cable news stations to describe what happened, before cameras and network correspondents arrived.

“In this case, the lawmakers are the best reporters,” “Fox & Friends” host Brian Kilmeade said while speaking with Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).

Jordan was followed on Fox News by Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla) and Rep. Sean P. Duffy (R-Wis.). Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) called in to CNN, and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) got on the line with MSNBC.

Their accounts were gripping.

“I was on deck, about to hit batting practice, on the third-base side of home plate, and I hear a loud bam,” Brooks said on “New Day.” “And I look around, and behind third base and the third-base dugout, which is cinder-block, I see a rifle. And I see a little bit of a body and then I hear another bam and I realize that there's an active shooter.

“At the same time, I hear Steve Scalise, over near second base, scream. He was shot. He's our majority whip. The gun was a semiautomatic. It continues to fire at different people. You can imagine all the people on the field scatter.

“I run around to the first base side of home plate. We have a batting cage — just got plastic wrapped around it to stop foul balls — and hide behind the plastic. You know, that plastic's not real good. And I was lying on the ground with two or three others as gunfire continues. Heard a break in the gunfire and decided to take a chance. Ran from home plate to the first-base dugout, which is also cinder-block and down about two or three feet, so you can have better cover.

“There were a number of congressmen and congressional staffers who help us lying on the ground. One of them was wounded in the leg. Took off my belt and I and another congressman — I don't remember who — applied a tourniquet to try to slow down the bleeding.”

DeSantis, who left the field before practice concluded, said on “Fox & Friends” that a man had approached him in the parking lot to ask whether the team of lawmakers on the field comprised Republicans or Democrats. DeSantis wondered aloud whether Scalise, who was shot, might have been targeted on purpose.

“He was out in the field when I left,” DeSantis said. “He had already hit batting practice and was basically just shagging balls as they came out there.… It just strikes me as odd that they would have targeted Steve just randomly because there would have been other people who would've been closer.”

Paul told MSNBC's “Morning Joe” that Scalise's presence likely saved lives because the majority whip, unlike most members of Congress, travels with a security detail.

“Everybody probably would have died, except for the fact that the Capitol Hill police were there,” Paul said. “The only reason they were there was because we had a member of leadership on our team. If Scalise wouldn't have been on the team — unfortunately, he was hit, and I hope he does well — but also by him being there, he probably saved everybody else's life because if you don't have a leadership person there, there would have been no security.”