Congressional Baseball Attack: Everything Went 'Exactly Right'
BuzzFeed recounts how a 'series of miracles' prevented a much larger tragedy that day
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted May 15, 2018 8:18 AM CDT
An FBI investigator removes a baseball bag from the first base side dugout on the baseball field in Alexandria, Va., Wednesday, June 14, 2017, that was the scene of a shooting involving House Majority...   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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(Newser) – On June 14, 2017, a gunman with a semiautomatic opened fire on congressional Republicans and staffers practicing for a baseball game. The shooting, which injured Rep. Steve Scalise and four others, has been well covered, but a report at BuzzFeed provides what is perhaps the most in-depth account so far of what transpired that morning. The upshot: The day could have been much, much worse "if everything had not gone exactly right," according to the riveting account by Kate Nocera and Lissandra Villa. "Those nine minutes were a near miss of modern American history, between the dark aftermath of a deadly, mass political assassination and our own reality, in which most people don’t think very often about June 14, 2017, the difference between everything changing and almost nothing changing at all."

Start with the shooter's first shot—it hit a fence instead of Rep. Trent Kelly, who was standing in front of the shooter. Yes, Scalise got shot, but if the high-ranking Republican wasn't there that day, the two Capitol cops assigned to protect him wouldn't have been, either. One of them, David Bailey, would later realize that a bullet hit his phone, instead of his hip, in the shootout. And on like that, a "series of miracles" for the survivors. "That the pitchers weren’t there that day, instead of trapped in a batting cage. That Matt Mika was turning his body when the first bullet struck him, so it didn’t hit his heart. That Zack Barth could still run. That Dr. Brad Wenstrup didn’t leave early. ... That the gate next to third base—through which the shooter could’ve walked through right onto the field—was locked, another fact nearly everyone on the team credits with saving their lives." Click for the full story, which details the on-the-spot triage for those wounded.

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