One year ago yesterday, a gunman opened fire on a baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia. He had scouted the area for a month, and found congressional Republicans were practicing there for the annual congressional baseball game. He double-checked with two members of Congress about the party affiliation of the men on the field before firing off some 70 rounds. He hit two staffers, two Capitol Hill police officers, and Majority Whip Steve Scalise before being taken down by Capitol Hill Police.
Members credit the police, there as part of Scalise’s leadership security detail, with saving all of their lives. Scalise and others wounded were tended by Rep. Brad Wenstrup, a doctor and combat vet with experience in Iraq. His quick action is also credited with keeping the injured alive.
But the road back wasn’t easy for those who fell at the hands of 66-year-old James Hodgkinson. Scalise was in the hospital for months, sometimes threatened by infection as much as his original injury, and had to relearn to walk. Here are some moments from his triumphant return to make you smile.
1. Thursday night, he walked onto Nationals field and got the first out in the congressional baseball game, scooping a groundball from his knees and throwing to first.
Sweet moment as Rep. Steve Scalise is mobbed by his teammates after snagging a grounder on the first pitch of tonight's congressional baseball game.
— ABC News (@ABC) June 14, 2018
You can see the progress he’s made from the clip of his moving comeback to Congress in September.
2. Before that, he announced his own comeback via Twitter:
I’m back in the game. pic.twitter.com/zs9xsiPd8p
— Rep. Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) June 14, 2018
Scalise entered the stadium with the aid of a cane in one hand, hugging each of his teammates before taking his place for the national anthem.
3. David Bailey and Crystal Griner, the two officers injured at the scene, threw out the ceremonial first pitches, with two other survivors of the shooting playing catcher.
Congressional aide Zach Barth suffered a minor injury. Lobbyist Matt Mika fought through a wound near his heart, a severed nerve in his hand, and five surgeries within a month before rehab.
“If you’d seen him the way I saw him a year ago, you would not believe he is standing, let alone playing baseball tonight,” Rep. Mike Bishop told the Detroit News of Mika.
Bailey and Griner were awarded the Capitol Hill Police Medal of Honor last year, along with three Alexandria Police officers.
4. Speaker Paul Ryan walking out to thank and hug Capitol Police officers Bailey and Griner for saving his colleagues’ lives.
— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) June 15, 2018
5. A week ago, Sen. Jeff Flake, who was also present at the 2017 shooting, tweeted a picture of Scalise practicing in uniform, with his cane on the field in the background.
— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) June 6, 2018