Just over two years since a gunman opened fire on an Alexandria, Virginia, baseball diamond and turned a Republican lawmaker practice into a national tragedy, the Capitol Police officers who saved lives were honored Tuesday with the Law Enforcement Congressional Badge of Bravery.
Special Agents David Bailey and Crystal Griner of the Capitol Police — both of whom are Maryland residents — were presented with one of the highest honors in law enforcement in the Capitol by the Maryland congressional delegation for their heroic roles in preventing what could have been a massacre. The award honors exceptional acts of bravery in the line of duty by federal, state and local law enforcement for those who have been at risk of injury or injured. It is awarded annually by the U.S. Attorney General and is presented by the recipients’ congressional delegation.
On June 14, 2017, the day of the shooting, Bailey and Griner were assigned to protect Louisiana Republican Rep. Steve Scalise, who at the time was House majority whip. Scalise was gravely wounded in the shooting and was on hand for the award presentation as well.
Matt Mika, the government relations director for Tyson Foods, was on the field during that day’s practice as a volunteer coach and was shot twice.
“When I saw him on the ground that day he was bleeding out his chest and got shot again while he was on the ground,” Rep. Rodney Davis, who was on the field, said of Mika. The Illinois Republican called his recovery a medical miracle.
Mika said Bailey and Griner protected all of them that day.
“These guys now, Bailey is like a brother to me, Griner is like a sister. We’re a family now — all of us,” Mika said.
“Something that was bad, a lot of positives come out of it,” Mika later added, noting that everyone who was on the field that day are all closer now.
Bailey and Griner were each awarded the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor in 2017 by President Donald Trump. It is the nation’s highest honor of valor for public safety officers.
“Anybody asks me who my heroes are in life — it starts with David and Crystal,” Davis said.
A Capitol Police spokesperson did not allow the press to speak with Bailey or Griner.
Bridget Bowman and Lindsey McPherson contributed to this report.
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