Alexandria, VA - Three Capitol police officers, Crystal Griner, David Bailey and Henry Cabrera, are being praised for their heroic actions and selfless bravery in taking down James Hodgkinson, the gunman who was intent on a massacre at a Republican Congressional baseball practice, according to CBS News.
All three officers were already on scene as part of a security detail for Representative Stephen Scalise when Hodgkinson opened fire. CBS correspondent Chip Reid said that Representative Scalise travels with a security detail because of his position, and that 'his security team kept the baseball field from becoming a killing field'.
Representative Mike Bishop, R-Michigan, told Scott Pelley, CBS Evening News anchor, "I know as sure as I'm standing here right now that there's no way we would have lived through that." He said, "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. They knew they weren't going to probably hit him. They just were trying to give us cover."
Officer Crystal Griner and Officer David Bailey rushed toward Hodgkinson, despite their own injuries from being shot, while Officer Cabrera returned fire from the first-base dugout. Senator John Flake, R-Arizona, sought safety in that same dugout, and remembered that "I yelled out, 'Is this friendly? Is this friendly? Are you friendly?' to the person who was firing behind our dugout, and gratefully it was a member of the Capitol Police."
Representative Scalise was standing near second base when he was shot, and dragged himself to safety. He is in critical condition after surgery on Wednesday.
In a press conference on Thursday morning, President Trump said the Louisiana Congressman is a "greater fighter", according to CNN. The President also said of the congressman who is in critical condition, "It's been much more difficult than people even thought at that time. He's in some trouble."
Officer Crystal Griner was shot in the ankle, and remains hospitalized after being transported to a nearby hospital. In 2006, she graduated from Hood College in Maryland, where she played basketball. Retired Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine said, "she is amazing, and she's a hero. She epitomized what being a hero's all about."
Officer David Bailey was treated and released for a minor injury. In 2007, the Brazilian native graduated from North Carolina Central University. A friend said that he had always talked about being a police officer, and that he was proud to be an officer working at the Capitol. He is a nine-year veteran of the Capitol Police, and previously served with U.S. Fish and Wildlife.
Both Officer Griner and Officer Bailey previously served on the security detail of former Majority leader Eric Cantor. The former Majority leader said, "[Griner’s] an incredibly able and professional individual who always takes her job and responsibility seriously. It is not surprising to hear of her heroism and bravery during this horrible attack,” according to The Daily Beast.
Cantor also said "The bravery David showed reflects the kind of commitment he, Crystal, and the team demonstrated each and every day...David is a trained professional who was and remains ready to act whatever the threat..."
Representative Joe Barton, who was present at the practice with his two sons, immediately sought to provide cover for them. In an emotional statement, he said that Capitol Police immediately returned fire.
Speaker Paul Ryan said "We are, as ever, awed by the tremendous bravery of the Capitol Police."
Our thoughts and prayers are with injured Officer Griner, and Officers Cabrera and Baily, injured Representative Stephen Scalise, injured legislative correspondent Zach Barth, injured former Congressional staffer Mike Mika, and all who were present.
Thank you Officer Crystal Griner, Officer David Bailey, and Officer Henry Cabrera. Job well done.