Earlier this morning, a lone shooter launched an ambush attack at a baseball practice in Alexandria, VA, involving Republican members of Congress who were preparing for an annual Congressional baseball game. Eyewitnesses reported that the gunman was heavily armed with a rifle, handgun and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. As many as 100 shots may have been fired and five people were injured, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, a congressional staffer and two U.S. Capitol Police officers. Our thoughts and prayers are with the survivors of this vicious incident and their families.
While few details are available, one fact is certain—law enforcement professionals saved many lives today. If not for the heroic and immediate response of U.S. Capitol police officers who were part of a protective detail on the scene, along with Alexandria (VA) police officers who responded within three minutes of the attack, many other individuals would have been either seriously injured or killed. This tragic incident is stark evidence of the vital guardian role of law enforcement professionals in our society.
It is incidents like today’s horrendous attack that spotlight the true value of the law enforcement professionals serving and protecting our nation. Most of their efforts to keep our communities safe go unnoticed, until evil strikes. While the rest of us run from danger, law enforcement professionals confront it head on, sometimes at the cost of their own lives.
The names of 21,183 fallen law enforcement heroes grace the walls of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC. Last year, 143 law enforcement officers lost their lives in the performance of duty and already this year 62 officer fatalities have occurred nationwide, including three who were shot and killed in the last two days. On average, there are 57,000 criminal assaults against officers each year, and more than 100,000 officers are injured in the line of duty. Yet, despite these enormous risks, some 900,000 law enforcement officers go out each and every day and put their lives on the line for our safety and protection. We owe all of them the thanks that often goes unspoken from a grateful and supportive nation.