‘Time stopped:’ Lobbyist shot at congressional baseball practice describes the harrowing scene
Photo Courtesy of Matt Mika(WASHINGTON) — The lobbyist who was shot multiple times earlier this year when a gunman opened fire at lawmakers practicing for a charity baseball game spoke out, recounting the harrowing scene of the shooting when, he says, “Time stopped, it just stopped.”
“I could see his eyes and the gun, but that was it,” Matt Mika, 38, said in an exclusive interview with “Good Morning America,” of the moment he saw the gunman, adding, “After that, I was like, ‘I’ve got to get out of here. I’ve got to run as fast as I can, and move.'”
At least 21 lawmakers, including House majority whip Steve Scalise, R-La., gathered for a baseball practice on the morning of June 14 at a park in Alexandria, Virginia, when James Hodgkinson opened fire at the members of Congress — shooting four people — before he was shot and killed by police.
“The incident took six minutes according to police reports,” Mika said, adding that to him it felt like 35 or 40 minutes. “Time stopped, it just stopped.
“We all yelled ‘Gun!’ I don’t know who yelled it first, and we started running,” Mika said, saying he cannot recall the exact place or moment when he was first shot. “All I know is when I got around to the gate I had blood all over my chest, on my pants.”
While he was running from the gunman, Mika says he saw the 10-year-old son of Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, and he pushed the boy into the safety of a concrete dugout.
“At some point I grabbed him, pushed him down,” Mika said.
At a news conference on the afternoon of the shooting, Barton got emotional, saying his son had “25 dads today” as everyone looked out for him when the gunfire began.
Mika said he then hid behind an SUV in the parking lot when he was shot again, but recalls how members of Scalise’s security detail, Capitol Police officers Crystal Griner and David Bailey, fearlessly jumped into action to protect those around them.
“She shielded me behind the SUV, she got shot in the ankle at some point, fell on top of me, used her gun to get back up and re-engaged in the shooter,” Mika said of Griner.
Mika said what he thinks would have happened if Griner and Bailey were not at the scene that day, “I wouldn’t be here right now. And we’d be talking about a massacre.”
Although Mika is still in physical therapy, he told ABC News he hopes to get back on the field next year.
“I want to be out here more. This is supposed to be a safe haven, this is the sandlot,” Mika told ABC News while standing on the baseball field where he was shot. “This is where people come to have fun. You’re not supposed to have any violence, or guns, or shooting, so we have to be better than that.”
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