Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
In the aftermath of the attack on the Republican baseball practice, the Congressional Baseball Game, played the following evening, became a moment of unity for the Hill community.
On this date, a gunman attacked the Republican baseball team during its morning practice at a city park in Alexandria, Virginia, while preparing for the annual charity Congressional Baseball Game
against fellow Democratic lawmakers. As Members took batting practice, the gunman began shooting onto the field from behind the third baseline fence. Majority Whip Steve Scalise
of Louisiana was struck in the hip and critically injured. Lobbyist Matt Mika and Zack Barth, a House legislative aide, also were shot by the gunman. With many Members pinned down in the dugout and around the park, Capitol Police officers David Bailey and Crystal Griner, Scalise’s protective detail assigned to him as a member of the Republican leadership team, returned fire and, with the assistance of Alexandria City police, subdued the shooter, who later died of his wounds. Amid the harrowing ordeal, Officer Griner was shot in the ankle and Officer Bailey sustained injuries as well. Brad Wenstrup
of Ohio, a doctor with combat surgery experience in the Iraq War, applied a tourniquet to Scalise and tended to him until he was helicoptered off the field and rushed to emergency surgery. That afternoon Speaker Paul D. Ryan
of Wisconsin, joined by Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi
of California, addressed the House, offering a message of unity. Speaker Ryan noted that while debate and partisan passions often were on display on the House Floor, “we do not shed our humanity when we enter this Chamber. For all the noise and all the fury, we are one family. These were our brothers and sisters in the line of fire. These were our brothers and sisters who ran into danger and saved countless lives.” Speaker Ryan concluded his remarks with a request. “I ask each of you to join me to resolve to come together, to lift each other up, and to show the country, to show the world, that we are one House, the people’s House, united in our humanity. It is that humanity which will win the day, and it always will.” The teams’ respective managers, Republican Joe Barton
of Texas and Democrat Mike Doyle
of Pennsylvania, consulted with their players and with House leaders and determined that the game would go on as scheduled the next evening at Nationals Ballpark near the Capitol. In an outpouring of support from the Hill community, residents of Washington, DC, and individuals from around the country, the game raised a record $1.7 million for local charities. The game also set an attendance record as 25,000 fans filled the stands on June 15 to watch the Democrats defeat the Republicans, 11 to 2
. Scalise, Mika, and Barth survived their injuries. On September 28, after multiple surgeries and months of rehabilitation, Scalise walked into the House Chamber under his own power, and delivered an address thanking Bailey, Griner, Wenstrup, and his team of doctors. His colleagues greeted his remarks with “thunderous applause” and several standing ovations.