Matt Mika, a lobbyist for Tyson Foods and a former Congressional aide, was one of the victims of the Alexandria, Virginia baseball field shooting on June 14. Mika was treated for his injuries at George Washington University hospital and discharged on June 23.
“Our family is pleased to report that Matt has been discharged from George Washington University Hospital,” Mika’s family said in a statement to WXYZ. “We are truly grateful for the compassionate, world-class care provided by the doctors, nurses and team at George Washington, and we will never forget and continue to be grateful for the heroism shown by the U.S. Capitol Police. We truly appreciate the prayers, words of encouragement and support from Matt’s friends, family and people across the nation and the world. Matt’s discharge is a welcome and important step.”
In a statement to CNN on June 17, Mika’s family confirmed that he is making progress and is showing “positive results.”
“While we know there will be difficult and challenging days ahead for Matt and our family, the physicians and specialists at Matt’s side expect a full recovery,” his family said. A GoFundMe account has raised over $50,565 to help Mika and his family with medical expenses.
In a statement to USA Today on June 15, Mika’s family said he is conscious, but needs medical equipment to help with breathing. The family said he suffered wounds to his chest and arm, and suffered massive trauma. He will also need more surgeries.
Mika’s family issued the following statement, adding that they are heading to D.C. from Michigan. “Baseball is one of his great passions and he has always loved the Congressional team,” the statement notes.
The 38-year-old Mika attended a Congressional Republican baseball practice for the annual Congressional Baseball Game. The suspect, identified as James T. Hodgkinson, fired at the Congress members on the field, striking House Majority Whip Steve Scalise in the hip. Two U.S. Capitol police and Congressional aide Zack Barth, where also injured.
During a short speech, President Donald Trump confirmed that Hodgkinson died from his injuries. House Speaker Paul Ryan said that the two U.S. Capitol Police officers wounded were David Bailey and Crystal Griner.
Here’s what you need to know about Mika.
1. Mika Was 1 of 5 Victims of the Shooting
Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas confirmed to the Washington Post that Mika was among the victims of the shooting. Brady said he could not give details on Mika’s condition.
“Matt Mika, one of the guys who helps us, is here at the hospital,” Brady told the Post. “He’s been a big part of the team for a number of years and just a great athlete, helps us frankly at second base and at shortstop. He’s a great guy.”
“Matt Mika works hard and he is friendly to everyone he meets,” Rep. John Moolenaar, who was at the practice, told the Detroit News. “Matt has a strong passion for our national pastime. He would always be at practices at 6 a.m., full of energy, and I enjoyed working with him in preparation for the annual baseball game. I join with Matt’s countless friends across the country in praying for him and his family during this difficult time, and I hope he makes a full recovery.”
“We’re awaiting word on his condition,” Tyson said in a statement to the Post. “We’re deeply concerned about him and his family.”
Sources told Politico that Mika was shot in the chest and suffered multiple gunshot wounds. He is being treated in the intensive care unit.
2. He Is Currently the Director of Government Relations at Tyson
According to Mika’s LinkedIn page, he has been working as a lobbyist for Tyson since January 2011. His current title is Director of Government Relations. He describes his job as “handling both state and federal issues, including issues related to the Farm Bill and the Committees on Agriculture.”
Mika transitioned from Congressional aide to lobbyist in 2009, when he joined the American Meat Institute. He was there until 2011, when he joined Tyson.
Tyson Foods confirmed that Mika is now in surgery.
3. A Friend Says Mika Was Shot ‘4 or 5 Times’ & Is in Critical Condition
David Palsrok, a former Michigan state representative and Mika’s friend, told Mlive.com that he heard from Mika’s family that “he was shot four to five times… and it sounds like he’s in critical condition.”
Mika’s family from East Lansing, Michigan is on their way to Washington, D.C.
“We’re praying for him and we love him,” Palsrok told MLive.com. “We’re just hoping that he recovers and that he’s OK.”
Palsrok told Mlive.com that Mika spent most of his time in Lansing and frequently traveled to Washington. “He’s someone who’s a lifelong friend,” Palsrok said.
Mlive.com also notes that Michigan Congressmen Dan Kildee, Mike Bishop and John Moolenaar were at the practice during the shooting, but are now safe.
4. He Earned His Masters at Western Michigan University
Mika earned a B.A. in Criminal Justice and Political Science at Adrian College in Adrian, Michigan. in 2001. He also played football and baseball at the liberal arts college. He was also a member of the Phi Kappa Sigma Fraternity.
In 2003 and 2004, he studied at Western Michigan University. There, he earned his Masters in Public Administration and Public Policy.
Politico notes that Mika is well-known among food and agricultural policy makers.
“Matt has worked for Tyson Foods for more than six years and we’re deeply concerned about him and his family,” Gary Mickelson, a Tyson spokesman, said in a statement.
5. He Previously Worked for Retired Michigan Congressman Dave Camp
Before becoming a lobbyist, Mika worked in Congress. He came to Washington in January 2005, when he became a legislative assistant for Rep. Dave Camp, who retired in 2015. For a year and four months, Mika advised Camp on health care, veterans affairs, defense, the Great Lakes, the environment and other issues.
In 2007, he began working for Congressman Tim Walberg, who is still serving. Mika worked on campaign reform and Native American issues. He was also a lead staffer on the Agriculture committee.
Mika has spent the majority of his professional career in Michigan politics. In 2000, he volunteered for State House candidate Fred Gallagher and in 2002, he volunteered for Michigan Lt. Governor Dick Posthumus‘ gubernatorial campaign.
In 2004 and 2005, Mika worked for State Representative David Palsrok. He was Palsrok’s 2004 campaign manager and fundraising chair, then worked as his legislative assistant before leaving Michigan for Washington, according to his LinkedIn page.
Walberg also issued the following statement:
Sources told SILive.com that Mika also had links to Staten Island, New York. He worked with former Staten Island Rep. Vito Fossella.
“Frankly, my motivation right now is to pray,” Fossella told SILive.com. “(Mika) spent a lot of time on Staten Island. He is very well liked and respected, and a very wholesome, solid man.”