ENNIS (CBSDFW.COM) – Constituents in Joe Barton’s district, especially neighbors in his community are expressing relief that the Congressman and his family were not hurt.
People in this tight community had some tense moments, first when they realized what was happening in Virginia and then that their own representative was right in the middle of it all.
In Washington he’s known as Congressman Joe Barton, but along his quiet Ennis street, he’s just as easily known as Jack’s dad.
“We all go out there and play football and sometimes play catch. We sometimes see Mr. Barton and Jack out there playing catch with their baseball,” 15-year-old Matthew Ozymy said.
10-year-old Jack Barton was among those able to safely take cover as a gunman opened fire at the Alexandria baseball field where Republican members of Congress met for an early morning practice. Neighbors back home struggled to break the news to their own children.
“Jack was there. He was in the dugout where the guy was shooting at, but he was down on the ground, and he’s not hurt,” Buck Marshall explained to his 10-year-old son, Jonathan.
Roll Call photographer Tom Williams tweeted an image of the Barton family riding the subway shortly after the shooting. Longtime friend Buck Marshall recognized Joe Barton’s older son clearly heartbroken.
“I’ve known Congressman Barton since I was a kid. I mean I went to high school with his son Brad, and that’s when I first met him,” Marshall said.
Now those who call the Congressman, neighbor say they’re hope is this incident is a wakeup call to tone down some of the rhetoric that divides Washington, and they wish the best for the survivors.
“You’re a pretty cool guy, and I’m glad you’re not hurt,” 10-year-old Jonathan Marshall said when asked what he would say to his friend, Jack Barton.
“And we’re praying for them, right?” Buck Marshall prompted his son.
“And we’re praying for you,” Jonathan said.
Congressman Joe Barton and his two sons were able to make it safely back to the Capitol where he spoke to reporters and credited first responders for saving their lives.