Capitol police hailed as heroes in Virginia shooting

Capitol police hailed as heroes in Virginia shooting

(RNN) - Two Capitol Police special agents were serving as security for Rep. Steve Scalise when shots rang out at an Alexandria, VA, baseball field as the Republican team practiced for a charity game. Scalise, the House majority whip, is the No. 3 ranking Republican in Congress, which merits the security detail.

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who was in the batting cage in the outfield as the gunman began firing said the officers' presence prevented a "massacre."

"Had they not been there it would have been a massacre," Paul said to MSNBC. "Because there's no escaping a guy, you know, if he's got several hundred bullets and we had no weapons and no place to hide."

The agents were identified by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan as David Bailey and Crystal Griner in his statement to Congress after the shooting. President Donald Trump joined a chorus of leaders who hailed the officers as heroes.

"Many lives would have been lost if not for the heroic actions of the two Capitol Police who took down the gunman despite sustaining gunshot wounds during a very, very brutal assault," Trump said.

Both officers engaged the shooter with their sidearms, commanding him to drop his weapon as they returned fire. Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks, who was tending to a wounded aide, said the officers were "90 to 120 feet away," which favored a rifleman over the officers, who were armed with handguns.

Despite being outgunned and wounded, they neutralized the gunman, 66-year-old James Hodgkinson, who later died of wounds sustained in the gunfight.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said they drew the gunman's fire while most of the representatives took cover in a dugout, where they would have been easy targets.

Capitol Police Chief Matthew Verdarosa said the two wounded officers are in good condition, and he expects them to recover quickly. Griner is still in the hospital after sustaining a gunshot wound to her ankle. Bailey was treated and released with minor injuries, a police spokesman said Wednesday afternoon.

Paul also praised the Alexandria Police Department, who responded to the emergency in less than three minutes.

The call came at 7:09 a.m., local law enforcement arrived at 7:12 and the gunman was down at 7:14, the Washington Post reported.

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