5 things to know about the cops who stopped the Va. congressional baseball shooting
These brave officers stopped the assault and prevented further tragedy
Gunfire erupted Wednesday in Alexandria, Virginia during a practice round for the annual congressional charity baseball game. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was critically wounded, and two Capitol police officers, a lobbyist and a legislative aide were also injured in the attack. The gunman, James T. Hodgkinson, was killed. Here are five things to know about the three brave officers – David Bailey, Crystal Griner and Henry Cabrera – who stopped the assault and prevented further tragedy.
1. The LEOs prevented a potential massacre at an event not usually attended by police.
In most cases, the practice isn’t attended by Capitol Police, but because Scalise is in a position of leadership, he’s one of nine members of Congress with a security detail and the only one of the nine who was on the baseball field Wednesday.
“Our lives were saved by the Capitol Police. Had they not been there I think it would have been a massacre,” Sen. Rand Paul told CNN. “The field, I mean, was basically a killing field.”
The presence of Scalise, who underwent a third surgery Thursday, was a stroke of luck in a tragedy that could have been far worse.
2. Griner and Bailey engaged the shooter while wounded.
All three officers immediately sprang into action after the first shots rang out. Displaying the true warrior and guardian spirit inherent in all those who don the uniform, Griner and Bailey continued to engage the suspect even after they were wounded in the gunfire exchange.
"The problem is that he's got a rifle and they've got handguns, and it's not a fair fight at that point in time," Rep. Mike Bishop told CBS News. "They knew they weren't going to probably hit him. They just were trying to give us cover."
While Griner and Bailey returned fire at Hodgkinson from the field, Cabrera shot from behind the first-base dugout. The LEOs faced a barrage of gunfire - Griner suffering from a gunshot wound to the ankle and Bailey injured by shrapnel – and prevailed.
Griner and Bailey were both treated at a hospital and released.
3. Griner and Bailey are LE veterans, and their heroism is no surprise to those who know them.
Griner and Bailey are both veterans of Capitol Hill. Before they were assigned to Scalise, they worked security detail for former House majority leader Eric Cantor.
Bailey has served as a US Capitol Police Officer for over nine years. Prior to that, he worked for the US Fish and Wildlife Service. He attended college at North Carolina Central University. NCCU Interim Chancellor Dr. Johnson O. Akinleye had this to say about Bailey:
"This example of “Truth and Service” comes as no surprise to his professors who knew him to be an engaged and empathetic student who was committed to excellence."
“He always had a passion for law enforcement,” Bailey’s friend, Adams Jones, told the Daily Beast. “He refers to the other officers as his brothers and sisters.”
Before she served, Griner was a “woman to be reckoned with” at Hood college – a basketball star who was a top scorer in her freshman year, according to the Daily Beast.
Special Agent Crystal Griner (at right) from college Basketball days at Hood College.— The Skeptic (@TheSkeptic21) June 14, 2017
-photo credit Marny Malin, Frederick New Post pic.twitter.com/xSGNEE1IO5
“[Griner’s] an incredibly able and professional individual who always takes her job and responsibility seriously,” Cantor told the publication. “It is not surprising to hear of her heroism and bravery during this horrible attack.”
During his visit to the hospital where Griner was being treated, President Donald Trump met with the officer and her wife, Tiffany, and gave them flowers.
4. Government officials were quick to praise the heroes.
Politicians were quick to heap praise on the LEOs who saved many lives that day.
"We are, as ever, awed by the tremendous bravery of the Capitol Police," House Speaker Paul Ryan said.
"We're especially thankful for the brave police officers that ran into danger without regard to their personal safety," Vice President Mike Pence said. "The courageous actions ... saved lives and prevented an even greater tragedy, and the American people are grateful."
"Many lives would have been lost if not for the heroic actions of the two Capitol Police officers who took down the gunman despite sustaining gunshot wounds during a very, very brutal assault," Trump said. "Our brave Capitol Police perform a challenging job with incredible skill, and their sacrifice makes democracy possible."
5. A day after being wounded, Bailey threw out the first pitch at the Congressional Baseball Game.
Going out to the pitcher’s mound on crutches, Bailey surprised the crowd at the Congressional Baseball Game on Thursday and threw out the first pitch.
David Bailey, 1 of 2 officers who prevented ‘massacre' in Virginia, threw out the first pitch before tonight's Congressional Baseball Game. pic.twitter.com/UQ2ivvLSeM— ABC News (@ABC) June 15, 2017