Rep. Roger Williams, a Texas Republican, broke down in tears while thanking the police officers who came to his and other congressmen’s aide as they were shot at during a baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia on Wednesday morning.
“There will be those who will talk about what’s wrong with America, but in this case, Officers [Crystal] Griner and [David] Bailey, we saw what’s right with America,” Williams said at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, calling the Capitol Police officers “heroes.”
Williams, who has been playing on the Republicans’ congressional baseball team for a decade, witnessed the shooting, but was not shot himself, although he sustained injuries while attempting to escape the shooter, 66-year-old James Hodgkinson.
“There could have easily been 25 deaths or more today,” Williams went on, beginning to cry. “But Officers Griner and Bailey prevented that and my family and I will be forever grateful.”
Williams was hitting a ground ball to Rep. Steve Scalise, the House majority whip, when the first gun shot rang out.
“I heard the first shot and I wasn’t sure, I thought maybe it was the backfiring of a car,” Williams said, “but then the second and the third and everybody yelled, ‘he’s got a gun, run for cover.’ So that’s what I did.”
Williams recalled running and diving headfirst into the first base dugout, which was seven feet underground, along with other congressmen and staffers. Shortly afterwards, Zachary Barth, a legislative aide in Williams’ office, also jumped into the dugout, after being shot in the leg.
“He held me, I held him,” Williams said of Barth, who is expected to make a full recovery. “[Sen.] Jeff Flake took his belt off and made a tourniquet around Zack’s leg to stop the bleeding.”
While the incident clearly shook Williams, his message was a positive one.
“Americans everywhere should be thankful that this is still the kind of country that still produces these kinds of heroes,” he said, adding that he will attend the scheduled baseball game between Republican and Democratic House members tomorrow.
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