One year ago today, gunshots rang out at a Republican congressional baseball practice just a day before the annual Congressional Baseball Game. As members of Congress dove for cover to shield themselves from the endless barrage of bullets, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Tysons Food lobbyist Matt Mika were critically injured. Gunfire struck Scalise in the hip and Mika in the chest, the bullet just missing his heart.
Thanks to the courageous actions of Capitol Police officers on scene, the only life lost that day was that of the shooter.
Now, one year later, Majority Whip Scalise and Mika have recovered from their life-threatening injuries, and Scalise is set to make his triumphant return to the baseball field.
A press release from the Majority Whip’s office states:
“… June 14, marks the one year anniversary of the Congressional Baseball Game practice shooting. Following a triumphant year of recovery, return, and resolve, House Majority Whip Scalise (R-La.) will return to the baseball game at Nationals Park [this] evening.”
The Congressman’s office also shared the following video showing just a small part of Scalise’s journey to recovery.
Despite the attack, members of Congress decided the 56th Annual Congressional Baseball Game still needed to be played.
As Beth reported last year, ticket sales for the charity game skyrocketed following the terrifying news.
The game’s proceeds benefit the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, the Washington Literary Center and, as of today, the Capitol Police Memorial Fund.
According to the game’s event planners, tickets have been flying off the shelf after yesterday’s shooting. Around 500 tickets per hour have been told throughout the course of the day. Just before 12 p.m. EST, 18,000 tickets had been sold.
Organizers say they are anticipating raising $1 million when everything is said and done. Last year, the game raised $500,000.
After the game, CNN reported that the number of tickets sold and the amount of money raised completely surpassed the organizer’s expectations, as the sporting event raised $1.5 million, selling almost 25,000 tickets.
Four months after the shooting, Scalise made his first public appearance at a House Leadership press conference. As Erika reported, Scalise thanked the American people for their prayers and support during his recovery, stated he and his wife were praying for those affected by the mass shooting in Las Vegas which occurred just a few days earlier, and that Americans can do their part to help the victims by donating blood.
Well, let me first say it’s great to see all of you and it’s great to be back I continue to just let everybody know who prayed for me during those tough times, how much it meant. It was tremendously uplifting, and gave me and my family a lot of strength during those tough times.
On that same token, Jennifer and I pray for the people that were involved in the Nevada shooting. Obviously [there] was so much loss of life and so many other people that are still injured today. Those families need our prayers right now, they need to be uplifted.
As people are saying, ‘What can we do to help?,’ we also need to remember that there is a tremendous loss of blood. Go to your local blood bank and just donate blood. That alone can be a very positive sign, especially when you look at how much blood was lost and probably will need to continue to be used at the local hospitals as people continue to be treated.
There’s a lot that we need to pray for, surely the loss of life and those injured. Hopefully, those that are injured can get through their injuries and can get back to their families, so keep them in their [your] prayers.
In a Fox News Exclusive interview, Martha MacCallum asked Scalise if his stance on the Second Amendment and gun policies changed since he nearly lost his life to a mass shooting; and, at the time, America was mourning the victims of the Las Vegas shooting. Scalise’s response may have surprised some people, as he told MacCallum:
I think it’s fortified it.
Because first of all you’ve got to recognize that when there’s a tragedy like this, the first thing we should be thinking about is praying for the people who were injured and doing whatever we can to help them, to help law enforcement. We shouldn’t first be thinking of promoting our political agenda.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) October 3, 2017
Though Scalise was able to make public appearances at the beginning of October, he still had a long way to go before he would make a full recovery.
In January, Scalise announced that he needed to undergo another surgery as part of his recovery process. Thankfully, that surgery was a success.
As Erika said at the time, which still holds true today, there is no doubt that Scalise is a fighter.
During an interview with Roll Call’s Alex Gangitano, Scalise talked about how it felt to know he was going to be back in the game. He also showed that he still has his sense of humor.
I’m going to actually wear a jersey and go out there and play in some capacity. I was able to put a uniform on and go out to practice and get my glove and field ground balls and make the throw to first. That was really neat. Obviously, I’m not able to have as much range as I had, but just to be able to go out there with everybody and be able to be a part of it again is special.
If they need me to be a base runner, then we’re in real trouble.
If you would like to attend the Congressional Baseball Game, you can still purchase tickets here.
However, if you can’t attend the game or do not live in the Washington, D.C. area and still want to watch or listen in, the game will be broadcasted via radio and Facebook Live. Federal News Radio will be broadcasting the game on the radio as well as on Facebook Live, and WTOP will show the game on its Facebook page as well. Coverage will start at 6:45 p.m. ET.