Married Lesbian Capital Police Officer Credited With “Fatal Shot” That Brought Down Virginia Shooter
Republican lawmakers who survived the rampage at an early morning baseball practice say it would have been a massacre if not for a pair of Capitol Hill police officers.
Law-enforcement officials didn’t say who fired the fatal shot, but witness Jeff Flake, a Republican senator from Arizona, said it was Griner who took down the shooter, James Hodgkinson.
Flake later visited both officers in the local hospital where they were being treated, and said he “thanked them for saving my life.”
Rep. Roger Williams (R-Tex.), choking back tears, called the pair “what’s right with America” during an afternoon press conference.”They saved all of us out there, there’s no question about it,” said Williams, the team’s coach who was at the practice and whose staffer suffered a leg wound.
“We saw two people risk their lives to save the lives of others. We saw courage in the face of death,” he continued. “There could have easily been 25 deaths or more today… but officers Griner and Bailey prevented that and my family and I will be forever grateful.”
The officers drew the shooter’s attention away from the congressmen, many of whom huddled for safety in the first base dugout. Williams said he and his staffer both dove for cover in the dugout after his staffer was injured. As they held each other, Flake made a tourniquet from his belt to stop his staffer’s bleeding.
Both officers are veterans of the force who joined Scalise’s security detail after having worked to protect then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) before he lost his seat in the House in 2014.
Bailey has worked as a Capitol officer for just shy of a decade, according to his LinkedIn page.
Doug Heye got to know both of them some when he worked as Cantor’s deputy chief of staff, and described them as “really good, dedicated people,” who were on the quiet side and pleasant to be around — but took their jobs deadly seriously.
“They’re good fun people who you’re talking to about what’s going on that day whether it’s politics or the Nationals game but you always know are laser-focused on their job. Whenever I was with Cantor and we’d be in a crowd you’d see that in their eyes, in the way they walk,” he said. “While I’m saddened obviously about what’s happened to them, I’m not surprised at all that they acted in the way they did and did their jobs so well.”
Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) said both are heroes.
Davis (R-Ill.), who was at bat when the shooting began, said, “They’re the ones that saved countless innocent lives and they’re the heroes of today.”
Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.), who was also at the practice, pointed out that they fought against superior firepower, because the shooter had a rifle and they had only pistols.
“But for their heroism there’s no question that there would have been much more carnage, no doubt about it, because no one else there was armed and this shooter was not only active but he was really unloading so many shots,” said the congressman, still in his baseball clothes at Capitol Hill hours later.
Fleischmann had been on the field with his back to the shooter when the rampage began, and dove into the dugout, huddling in place until the shots stopped. Five were injured by the gunman, including both officers and Scalise.
“It was just chaotic and afterwards it was very sad,” he said.
The lawmakers are lucky a member of GOP leadership was on the team, as only they get security details.
In an emotional speech on the House floor, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) commended the officers for their actions as the entire House rose to its feet in applause.
“We are as ever awed by the tremendous bravery of the Capitol Police,” he said, stating he’d talked to both officers after the shooting, right before one went in for surgery for their injuries. “It is clear to me based on various eyewitness accounts that without these two heroes, Agent Bailey and Agent Griner, many lives would have been lost.”
He was seconded by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
“The Capitol Police protects all of us, takes risks for us,” she said.