Instead of remembering the shooter’s name, let’s remember the names of the Capitol Police heroes who saved so many lives on June 14 at the congressional baseball practice.
The two police officers’ quick-thinking instinct to confront — and shoot at — the gunman was credited with preventing a potential bloodbath of many of the nation’s political elite. Senators. Congressmen. Their staffers. All had gathered – along with children – to practice baseball for an eventual game to benefit charity.
“Had they not been there, it would have been a massacre,” U.S. Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., said to MSNBC.
As we have seen in other tragedies, the officers ran toward the danger while other people ran out. That’s their job, of course. And they did it – very well. As we have seen in so many tragedies, good counters bad.
“Griner and Bailey rushed him, despite their own wounds,” reported CBS News, which added that a third heroic officer, Henry Cabrera, was also at the scene and shot at the gunman from behind a dugout.
Rep. Mike Bishop, R-Michigan, told “CBS Evening News” anchor Scott Pelley that Griner and Bailey “rushed onto the field as the congressmen and staffers fled.” CBS quoted him as saying, “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.”
James T. Hodgkinson, a disgruntled former home inspector from Illinois, a man bearing many political grudges, toward Donald Trump, toward Republicans in Congress, showed up toting a rifle. He may not have counted on Griner, Bailey and Cabrera – three armed security officers – being present at such a theoretically open and soft target.
He asked whether Republicans or Democrats were playing. When he learned Republicans were playing, he opened fire apparently indiscriminately, shooting multiple people and sending people scrambling for their lives. That’s when Griner, Bailey and Cabrera sprang into action.
(In the below photo, Bailey is supporting the North Carolina Central University basketball team. They went to the NCAA tournament last year. Bailey graduated from NCCU in 2007, the school confirmed.)
Griner and Bailey were at the game guarding Rep. Steve Scalise, a Republican from Louisiana, who is the House Whip. Because Scalise is a member of House Leadership, he is entitled to round-the-clock protection from Capitol police that all lawmakers do not automatically get.
Both Griner and Bailey, according to numerous eyewitness reports, shot at the gunman before he could do more damage, both being injured as a result. Griner was shot in the ankle, but is recovering in the hospital, where she and her wife, Tiffany, were given a bouquet of white flowers by President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, according to a White House pool report. Scalise, too, is recovering in the hospital but is in critical condition. The gunman was killed by the return fire.
“A woman walking her dog said she heard a female officer scream, ‘Drop your weapon,’ before the gunman ‘shot her and she fell to the ground,'” The Washington Post reported. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told the Post the officers “went out into the fire to draw the fire. The shooter was moving toward the dugout where the members were, and they were able to take him down.”
Five were wounded: Rep. Steve Scalise, Griner, Bailey, Zack Barth, a congressional staffer, and lobbyist Matt Mika, whose wounds, along with those of Scalise, are considered very serious. All five of those wounded:
Politician after politician, from House Speaker Paul Ryan to Donald Trump, praised the heroics of the two Capitol police officers, without whom there might have been an even greater national tragedy. Both officers are healing and expected to recover fully. Cabrera was not injured. Vice President Mike Pence also visited Griner in the hospital.
Griner had formidable talents to drawn on when the time came: She is a former standout high school and college athlete. She played basketball at Hood College in Maryland. She studied biology before turning to law enforcement, and in school, she was a gifted academic as well as a multi-sport athlete. She was remembered by one former college classmate as a ferocious competitor. She drew on all those talents on June 14.
Bailey has been working as a United States Capitol Police Officer for over nine years. His LinkedIn page says that as a Capitol Officer, he is “responsible for the protection of Members of Congress, Officers of Congress, and their families as expanded by statute to the entire United States, its territories and possessions, and the District of Columbia.” As part of his job, Bailey also prevents, detects, and investigates criminal acts and enforces traffic regulations. His page reveals that he was an administrator at the US Fish and Wildlife Service in Falls Church, Virginia, from 2005 to 2008. Bailey, as with Griner, is 32.
Read more about Bailey here:
Read more about Griner here: