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Politicians look at security after Alexandria shooting; police train for active shooter situations

Law enforcement officers investigate the scene of a shooting near a baseball field in Alexandria, Va., Wednesday, June 14, 2017, where House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of La. was shot at a Congressional baseball practice. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) Law enforcement officers investigate the scene of a shooting near a baseball field in Alexandria, Va., Wednesday, June 14, 2017, where House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of La. was shot at a Congressional baseball practice. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
ALEXANDRIA, VA (WWBT) -

Some politicians are now taking another look at security when they are out in public. This is in response to the shooting in Alexandria.

Even Governor Terry McAuliffe said more lives were saved because of the bigger security team that was with Congressman Steve Scalise.

Congressman Dave Brat and other politicians were actually at the gym when they saw the breaking news headlines. 

"A Democrat friend on the flight next to me tapped me on the shoulder," he said.  "He said, 'Look up at the TV!'  We saw breaking news, and we saw Scalise shot!"

Brat believes if Scalise's security detail wasn't there, the outcome could have been much worse. 

"We were lucky that Scalise is in leadership and has a bigger security team so that played into it and we’re thankful for our officers on a daily basis," said
Congressman Brat.

It's a detail even the governor made sure to emphasize. 

"I also want to compliment the U.S. Capitol Police for their quick action and through their heroic efforts and others, they saved a lot of lives today," said Governor Terry McAuliffe.

The shooting has Congressman Brat thinking about the long run. 

"A day like this is just going to make us think through protocols for town halls or events or big group events, but it's one guy that went off the rails," said Brat.

There is only one way to describe what happened. 

"It's an evil act," said Brat. "And evil is hard to explain rationally, something is in their mind that shouldn’t be there."

Capitol Police in Richmond say there was no security increase because the shooting was isolated, but they are monitoring the investigation in Alexandria.

They train for active shooter situations and have to be prepared no matter what.

They train inside the Capitol, outside of the Capitol, and even in rural areas off-site, because they never know when that moment will hit.

"We're often called upon by a state official. It could be a member of the General Assembly. It could be the Lt. Governor, the Attorney General. They may request our services, may request we accompany them. They may have received some sort of threat and are requesting some extra protection,” said Captain Randy Howard.

The Virginia Capitol Police force has 77 sworn officers when fully staffed. They train for active shooter responses.

“These situations are very unpredictable. Active shooters don't fit a particular profile so they can look like anyone,” said Howard.

The shooters may strike in the least likely of places, as seen in Alexandria.

"This was a public setting. They were engaged in recreation in a park,” Howard added.

Back in 2012, there was chaos at the Richmond Bell Tower after a pro-choice protest resulted in an attempted barricade of the Capitol.

"They refused to leave after a number of warnings,” Captain Howard said.

His officers were forced to step in.

"That was a mass arrest situation,” he said.

Fortunately, it did not result in gunfire, but officers are always prepared for the very worst.

"We know people are passionate now more than ever about the issues," Howard said.

He explained officers are expected to act if they encounter a scenario when off duty.

"You're an officer 24 hours a day,” he added.

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