Mich. man injured in Va. shooting grateful to police
Oakland County native Matt Mika said “time stopped” when a gunman opened fire during an early morning GOP practice for the congressional baseball game in June.
“I could see his eyes and the gun, but that was it. After that, it was like, ‘I gotta get outta here,’ ” Mika told ABC’s “Good Morning America” in his first interview about the shooting.
“I think it’s awesome I’m alive.”
Authorities later identified the gunman as James Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Illinois, who died of his wounds after a shootout with police.
Mika, 38, was among four shot by Hodgkinson three months ago, and he credits his survival to the two Capitol Police officers who returned fire, especially Special Agent Crystal Griner, who shielded Mika with her body as he took cover behind a parked SUV in the parking lot.
Mika was shot multiple times in the chest and arm and spent several days in intensive care at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C.
The incident on June 14 lasted about six minutes, according to police reports, but felt like 30 or 45 minutes, Mika said.
A volunteer coach for the team, Mika was standing along the first-base line when Hodgkinson started shooting.
“We all yelled, ‘Gun!’ ” Mika said.
“I don’t know who yelled it first. And we started running.”
He doesn’t know when he was first hit by bullets — as he ran toward the far side of the dugout or before.
“All I know is when I got to the gate, I had blood all over my chest, on my pants,” Mika said.
Along the way, he saw the 10-year-old son of Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, and pushed him into the concrete dugout for protection.
Mika was shot again while taking cover in the parking lot behind the SUV with his arms covering his head.
Griner got shot in the ankle and fell on top of Mika. She used her gun to get back up, and re-engaged in the shootout, Mika said.
Had she and her colleague not been at practice, “I wouldn’t be here right now, and we’d be talking about a massacre,” Mika said.
He still is receiving physical therapy but already intends to return to help next year’s baseball team.
Mika graduated from Southfield-Lathrup High School and Adrian College. He is director of government relations in the Washington office of Tyson Foods, where he has worked for six years.
He previously worked on Capitol Hill for U.S. Reps. Dave Camp of Midland and Tim Walberg of Tipton.