ALEXANDRIA, Va. (CBS News) — The three Capitol Police officers who immediately returned fire when a gunman attacked a Republican baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia, are being called heroes.
Special Agents Crystal Griner, David Bailey and Henry Cabrera were on the scene when James T. Hodgkinson opened fire.
Griner and Bailey rushed him, despite their own wounds.
CBS News correspondent Chip Reid reports that as a member of the Republican leadership Rep. Steve Scalise travels with a protective detail of Capitol Police officers, so it’s a good thing he was at the practice on Wednesday because his security team kept that baseball field from becoming a killing field.
“I know as sure as I’m standing here right now that there’s no way we would have lived through that,” Rep. Mike Bishop, R-Michigan, told “CBS Evening News” anchor Scott Pelley.
Bishop said two of the agents rushed onto the field as the congressmen and staffers fled.
“The problem is that he’s got a rifle and they’ve got handguns, and it’s not a fair fight at that point in time,” Bishop said. “They knew they weren’t going to probably hit him. They just were trying to give us cover.”
A third agent shot at the gunman from behind the first-base dugout, where Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, sought safety.
“I yelled out, ‘Is this friendly? Is this friendly? Are you friendly?’ to the person who was firing behind our dugout,” Flake said, “and gratefully it was a member of the Capitol Police.”
Griner was hospitalized with a gunshot wound to her ankle. She graduated in 2006 from Maryland’s Hood College, where she played on the basketball team.
“She is amazing, and she’s a hero,” said retired Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine. “She epitomized what being a hero’s all about.”
Bailey was treated and released for a minor injury. He’s from Brazil and graduated from North Carolina Central University in 2007.
His friend, Racheal Brooks, wasn’t surprised by Bailey’s heroics.
“He always talked about becoming a police officer, and I remember when he first shared that he was working in Washington, D.C., and that he was a police officer he was so proud,” Brooks said.
Rep. Joe Barton was there with his two sons. His gratitude to the officers who saved them was clear.
“Capitol Hill police immediately began to return fire,” Barton said, choking up.
That sentiment echoed throughout the Capitol.
“We are, as ever, awed by the tremendous bravery of the Capitol Police,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said.
Survivors said that if the Capitol Police officers had not been there they would have been sitting ducks.
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