Matt Mika, one of the five victims in the Alexandra, Virginia shooting on June 14, was released from the hospital on June 23. Mika is a Tyson Foods lobbyist who previously worked for two Republican Congressmen from Michigan. He was at the ball field where Congressional Republicans were practicing for the June 15 Congressional Baseball Game.
The suspect, identified as James T. Hodgkinson, died at the hospital from wounds recieved from police returning fire. The other four victims were House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, Congressional aide Zack Barth and U.S. Capitol Police officers David Bailey and Crystal Griner. They have all survived their injuries. Scalise remains hospitalized.
Here’s what you need to know about the 38-year-old Mika’s health and his life.
1. Mika Was Released from George Washington University Hospital on June 23
Sources told Politico that Mika was shot in the chest. He suffered multiple gunshot wounds during the shooting. Mika was treated at George Washington University Hospital. His parents flew in from East Lansing, Michigan to be with their son.
In the days after the shooting, Mika’s family provided frequent updates on his health. On June 23, the family issued a statement on June 23, confirming that Mika was discharged from the hospital.
The family’s statement reads:
“Our family is pleased to report that Matt has been discharged from George Washington University Hospital. 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.”
Meanwhile, Scalise’s condition has improved. Medstar Washington said in its latest update that Scalise has been released from the intensive care unit, although he remains hospitalized.
2. A GoFundMe Fund Raised Over $58,000 for Mika’s Family
On June 16, Michael Baker launched a GoFundMe page to help raise money for Mika’s family. The fund has raised over $58,000 in just seven days.
“Matt and his family continue to be overwhelmed with emotion for the support and outreach from you all. We ask that you also remember the heroes of that day,” the latest update on the fund page reads. “In addition to, or in lieu of, contributions for Matt and his family, we encourage everyone to contribute to Agent Crystal Griner’s GoFundMe. Matt and everyone else who was on the field that day were saved by Agents Griner and Bailey’s heroic actions.”
David Palsrok, a former Michigan state representative who worked with Mika on local campaigns, told MLive.com that he considered Mika a “lifelong friend.” He added that he was grateful for the first responders who wee on the scene so quickly.
“He’s somebody who’s touched a lot of lives in Lansing and in his travels to DC. There are a lot of people who care for him,” 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.”
Rep. Tim Walberg, who Mika worked for, told Politico that he considers Mika a “close friend.”
“As a former baseball player, he was volunteering at this morning’s practice to help the congressional team get ready for the game,” Walberg told Politico. “This is deeply personal and Sue and I are praying for Matt as he receives medical attention.”
3. Mika Is a Tyson Foods Lobbyist & Specialized in Agriculture Policy
Mika’s LinkedIn page shows that he turned to lobbying in 2009 when he was hired by the American Meat Institute as a Senior Director for Legislative Affairs. For just over two years, he focused on agriculture, food safety, immigration, health care and trade-related issues.
In January 2011, Tyson Foods hired Mika as a Director of Government Relations. He’s been there for over six years. He describes his job as “handling both state and federal issues, including issues related to the Farm Bill and the Committees on Agriculture.”
4. Before Working as a Lobbyist, Mika Was a Congressional Staffer for Dave Camp & Tim Walberg
Before working as a lobbyist, Mika was on the other side of government. After earning his B.A. at Adrian College in Adrian, Michigan, Mika began working for local Republican political campaigns in his home state. He volunteered for Fred Gallagher’s 2000 State House campaign, was a County Campaign Leader for Dick Posthumous’ 2002 campaign and worked on Palsrok’s 2004 campaign. He was also a legislative assistant for Palsrok from 2003 to 2005.
In 2005, Mika went to Washington as a legislative assistant for now-retired Rep. Dave Camp. From 2007 to 2009, Mika worked for Walberg, according to his LinkedIn account.
While working for both Congressmen, Mika developed a talent for working on bills related to Native American issues, food policy and policies related to the Great Lakes region, among other topics.
5. Baseball Is a Passion for Mika
Mika’s family said in a statement to the Detroit News that baseball was one of his “great passions,” which was why he was at the field with Congressional Republicans.
“While the attack today was a terrible surprise, Matt’s presence on the ball field, helping longtime colleagues and friends, was not,” his family said. “He is a very thoughtful, fun-loving person who is competitive and loyal; all things which contributed to his continued commitment to the Congressional Baseball Game.”
Indeed, Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas told The Washington Post that Mika is “one of the guys who helps us,” adding that he has helped the team for several years.
“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,” Brady told the Post.
“Matt Mika works hard and he is friendly to everyone he meets,” Rep. John Moolenaar 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.”