BEHIND THE SCENES — FROM KYLE CHENEY, our incredibly versatile House reporter who spent the day in Alexandria reporting on the shooting: “In the course of reporting from Alexandria, I had two eye-opening encounters with witnesses that really gnawed at me during such a harrowing moment. I arrived at the ballpark less than an hour after the shooting and overheard one witness – a man possibly in his mid-20s — excitedly describing the incident in vivid detail over the phone. It was still a murky situation at that point, so as soon as he hung up, I asked him if he could repeat to me what he had seen.
“The man immediately tensed up and told me that there was no way he’d talk to the media because he can’t stand the press and he thinks we’re all complicit in leaking (of what, I’m not sure). I told him I personally hadn’t ‘leaked’ anything but in fact knew and reported on some of the people on the field that morning – and that his information might help provide some clarity at a critical moment. He still refused. A short while later, while holed up in a coffee shop across from the field, I chatted with a young woman who also witnessed the aftermath. She said she took comfort when she found out the assailant had targeted members of Congress – not because she wished them any harm but because it would’ve been more unnerving, she said, had the violence been random. Both conversations were revealing about some of the sad realities we now live with.
“It’s only fair if I also mention that these encounters were exceptions on a day of many kindnesses. Most witnesses were forthcoming with as much detail as they could muster, and I watched as random passersby delivered Gatorade, iced tea and even a bag full of Chick-fil-A to police on the scene. And the police then shared the spoils with journalists, pedestrians and others baking in the Alexandria sun.”