Autzen sniper survivor sympathizes with victims of attack on GOP baseball practice
EUGENE, Ore. - Paul Weinhold was was lifting weights with Oregon wrestler Rick O'Shea when they heard that someone had brought a gun inside Autzen Stadium.
"I said, 'Rick, let's not go out there. Let's call the police'," Weinhold recalled of that day in November 1984.
Weinhold says O'Shea walked onto the field.
Police say the shooter, 19-year-old Oregon freshman Michael Feher, was dressed in camouflage and perched above the weight room when he shot at O'Shea.
"Fortunately he missed Rick directly," Weinhold said, "but the bullet exploded and ricocheted and he was obviously injured because of that."
Weinhold recalled the ordeal Wednesday as news of a shooting at a Congressional GOP baseball practice shocked the nation.
Back in 1984, Weinhold and O'Shea barricaded themselves inside the weight room along with other athletes.
Weinhold described what happened next as "World War Three."
"There was so much gun fire," Weinhold said, "It was scary."
The shooter claimed the life of former Olympic track athlete Christopher Brathwaite. The 35-year-old was running outside of Autzen.
Police said it appears Feher took his own life.
O'Shea recovered from his injuries.
But as Weinhold has seen firsthand, injuries can be more than just physical.
"Psychological injuries. Those are the things that people don't think about, and I've seen it with some of the folks who were in there," Weinhold said. "They really have been profoundly impacted."
Weinhold said that, over the years, security has ramped up around Autzen and the rest of campus. He now works on campus and said he feels very safe.
But he sympathized with the elected officials and staffers in harm's way on Wednesday in Alexandria, Virginia.
"I don't think," he said of his experience more than 30 years ago, "I could ever forget that."