- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 14, 2017

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was fielding ground balls near second base on the baseball diamond Wednesday, making him one of the first targets for the gunman who attempted a murderous rampage Wednesday.

Shot in the hip, Mr. Scalise lay bleeding on the field as a gunbattle raged around him, leaving a streak of blood as he crawled from the infield, waiting for help.

As the third-ranking Republican in the House, Mr. Scalise has a protective security detail, which responded to the shooting, saving the lives of dozens of lawmakers and staffers gathered for a morning practice.

An avid sports fan, Mr. Scalise has also routinely been part of the annual congressional baseball game, which will take place as planned Thursday.

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Wednesday that Mr. Scalise is likely “really frustrated” that he’ll have to miss this year’s game. Participants are reportedly planning to wear Louisiana State University gear at the game in his honor.

“He’s very proud of his Louisiana heritage,” said Rep. Leonard Lance, New Jersey Republican, who says Mr. Scalise occasionally takes congressmen out for Cajun food in D.C. “He’s very popular.”

Mr. Scalise was out of surgery in critical condition as of Wednesday afternoon, according to MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

Mr. Scalise’s office said a single rifle shot traveled through his left hip, fracturing bones, damaging organs, which caused severe bleeding. He received multiple blood transfusions and his critical condition will require additional operations.

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump visited Mr. Scalise in the hospital Wednesday night, with Mrs. Trump bringing flowers.

After the visit, Mr. Trump took to Twitter to say that Mr. Scalise ‘is in very tough shape.’”

“But he is a real fighter. Pray for Steve!” Mr. Trump wrote.

Also wounded in the assault was Zachary Barth, a legislative correspondent for Rep. Roger Williams, who was in the outfield collecting balls when the shooting rampage began.

Mr. Williams, a Texas Republican who has coached the GOP team since 2013, said in a series of Twitter posts that Mr. Barth was expected to make a full recovery. Mr. Williams also asked the public to respect the privacy of Mr. Barth and his family.

Mr. Barth, a 2015 graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, also worked on the 2016 presidential campaign of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and is a former staffer for former Rep. Randy Neugebauer, Texas Republican.

Mr. Williams hurt his own ankle diving into the dugout to try to escape the gunman’s fire. He was on crutches Wednesday evening.

Matt Mika, a former Republican congressional staffer and current lobbyist for Tyson Foods who volunteers to help the baseball team, was shot multiple times, including a wound to the chest.

Mr. Williams said Mr. Mika appeared to be recovering, though Mr. Mika’s family said in a statement late Wednesday afternoon that he was still in the intensive care unit in critical condition and was expected to stay there for at least several days.

He earned a master’s degree from Western Michigan University and worked as a legislative aide, first in Michigan’s state legislature and then on Capitol Hill, serving with then-Rep. Dave Camp and then with Rep. Tim Walberg, Michigan Republican, before entering the private sector in 2009, according to his LinkedIn page.

Mr. Walberg described him as a “dear friend.”

“This is deeply personal and [my wife] Sue and I are praying for Matt as he receives medical attention,” the congressman said.

The two U.S. Capitol Hill Police officers hailed as heroes who were injured in the shooting were Special Agent David Bailey and Special Agent Crystal Griner.

Capitol Police Chief Matthew Verderosa said the two officers were in “good condition” and their injuries weren’t life-threatening.

Lawmakers on the field described Agent Bailey as having been wounded yet still returning fire on the gunman, advancing on him and — perhaps — being the one to bring him down. Agent Bailey then came to check on Mr. Scalise, before congressmen convinced him to get checked out himself.

He’s a graduate of North Carolina Central University and has been with the U.S. Capitol Police for about eight years, according to his LinkedIn page.

Mr. Ryan said he spoke with both officers Wednesday morning.

“I expressed our profound gratitude to them. It is clear to me, based on eyewitness accounts, that without these heroes, Agents Bailey and Griner, many lives would have been lost,” Mr. Ryan said in a floor speech.

They had been sent as Mr. Scalise’s protective detail, and witnesses said the scene would likely have been a lot worse had a member of the congressional leadership and his associated officers not been on the scene.

“Many people likely would have died this morning if not for the bravery of the Capitol Police,” said Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, who fled a batting cage and took refuge behind a tree near right field during the attack.

Others said a twist of fate kept them safe.

Rep. Ryan Costello of Pennsylvania missed his ride to practice with Rep. Rodney Davis of Illinois and other players by about two minutes early Wednesday, only to get an “ugly jolt” when he saw news reports.

“I would have been in the line of fire,” Mr. Costello, clearly emotional, told reporters at the Capitol.

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