Officer hurt in GOP practice shooting throws first pitch at Congressional game

Lawmakers pray before the annual Congressional Baseball game.

President Donald Trump speaks in the Diplomatic Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, June 14, 2017, about the shooting in Alexandria, Va. where House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of La., and others, where shot during a Congressional baseball practice.

Proceeds from the game will go to the Capitol Police Memorial Fund, the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington, the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation and the Washington Literacy Center.

But, he had a friendly baseball jab for the Democratic squad after a lopsided contest: "We won't be as nice next year!"

"Crystal is one of the two Capitol Police officers who saved so many lives through her heroism, along with David Bailey", Trump said.

As I send this column, Majority Whip Steve Scalise is in critical condition, having already endured multiple surgeries with more to come. He arrived "in critical condition with an imminent risk of death", Sava said, adding that now, "we are encouraged by improvement in his condition". President Trump offered words of reassurance to the nation.

Republican lawmakers emphasized that the officers were only present at the event because Scalise, a member of the House leadership team, was on the field. The officers took down the shooter during a gunfight.

On that day, a man later identified as the attacker approached Rep. Jeff Duncan of SC in the parking lot of the Alexandria, Virginia, ballfield, asking him, "Excuse me, sir, who's practicing today, Democrats or Republicans?" as Duncan recalls the encounter.

Duncan found that memory hard to shake Thursday night as he stood in for Scalise at second base.

"I couldn't be more proud of their actions", he said. "That was humbling in a way".

Some observers have noted the irony of Griner's heroic actions that helped rescue Scalise, who has expressed through various legislation his disapproval of same-sex marriage. He wore a purple boot and gear from LSU.

Rep. Roger Williams, a Texas Republican who witnessed the shooting and whose legislative aide was shot, said he and his family will be "forever grateful" that the officers prevented what could have easily been 25 deaths or more.

Even before the shooting, Speaker Paul Ryan and Pelosi had begun talking about changes that could improve members' safety, said Ryan's spokeswoman, AshLee Strong. He has reported them to Capitol police. Still, the divide was good-natured, for once.

Officer Griner, who is also a member of the LGBTQ community, was perceived as a hero after showing her bravery during the deadly shooting. The bullet entered his left hip and tore through his pelvis, breaking bones, injuring organs and causing severe bleeding.

The contest is a summertime tradition in Washington dating to 1909 and is known as a time for friendly competition between Republicans and Democrats, even at times when fractious political debates are the norm on Capitol Hill.

Once a relatively cozy affair, played at a minor league ballpark in Maryland, the game has gone big time in recent years and has been played at Nationals Park, just a few blocks from the Capitol.

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