House Majority Whip Steve Scalise returned to Capitol Hill on Thursday to thank the heroes who saved him after a gunman shot him and three others during an early morning baseball practice in mid-June.
The Louisiana Republican, making his first appearance on the House floor since the shooting, walked with crutches and was received with a standing ovation and a chorus of cheers.
“You have no idea how great this feels to be back here at work in the people’s house,” Scalise said in a floor speech.
Scalise, 51, was at the practice in a Virginia suburb on June 14 for an upcoming congressional baseball game when he was shot in the hip and suffered damage to several internal organs. The gunman, 66-year-old James Hodgkinson of Illinois, died following a shootout with law officers. Three others were shot and wounded during the attack, including a member of Scalise’s security detail.
Scalise, who was hospitalized for several weeks, credited Capitol Police officers David Bailey and Crystal Griner for saving his life. As he lay on the ground after being shot, Scalise said he was reassured when he heard a “different caliber of weapon” as the officers fired at the gunman.
“That told me that they immediately engaged the shooter,” Scalise said. “They not only saved my life but the lives of others in the chamber” who were participating in the practice.
Bailey, who accompanied Scalise to Capitol Hill, received a standing ovation. Griner was unable to attend.
“David, you are my hero,” Scalise told him. “You saved my life, thank you so much.”
A video released by CBS showed an emotional meeting between House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Scalise.
The congressman also credited his faith for helping him survive his injuries.
“When I was laying out on that ball field, the first thing I did once I was down and couldn’t move anymore and I just started to pray, and it gave me an unbelievable sense of calm knowing I was in God’s hands.”
His office said in a statement that Scalise “will be resuming his work at the Capitol, while also completing an extended period of out-patient rehabilitation over the coming months.”