A Texas congressman held an emotional press conference on Wednesday during which he spoke out about the terrifying shooting earlier that morning that left one of his fellow representatives in critical condition.
Rep. Roger Williams (R-Tex.) got teary-eyed as he discussed surviving the ordeal and praised the two Capitol Police officers — Krystal Griner and David Bailey — whom he credited with helping save everyone’s lives.
Williams specifically got choked up while speaking of their bravery, the Daily Mail reported.
“There will be those who will talk about what’s wrong with America but in this case, with officers Griner and Bailey, we saw what’s right with America,” he said. “There could have easily been 25 deaths or more today, but officers Grinder and Bailey prevented that and my family and I will be forever grateful.”
Williams said “law enforcement officers everywhere should be proud” and that Americans, too, should feel pride over the fact that their country still produces such heroes.
The alleged shooter, identified by authorities as James T. Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Illinois, reportedly shot at the Republican congressman and their staffers for just a few minutes as they practiced for a charity baseball game that is slated to be held against a team of their Democratic peers on Thursday night, though Williams — who injured his ankle during the attack — said it felt like the ordeal went on forever.
The congressman was hitting ground balls to congressional peers, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), when shots started ringing out. At first, he said he wasn’t sure what was going on, but then someone yelled, “He’s got a gun. Run for cover.”
That’s when Williams made the quick decision to dive into the first base dugout along with other members of Congress. Scalise, who was shot in the hip, is still in critical condition; he had surgery on Wednesday, but is expected to need additional procedures to fix associated issues and complications due to the wound.
Watch Williams remarks below:
Williams also said he’s hopeful that an annual baseball game scheduled between Democrats and Republicans on Thursday night can continue as planned, quipping that he’ll be the “one coaching third on crutches.”
“We need to play. This is a game that’s been going on for over 100 years, it goes to charity, we need to play this baseball game,” he said. “I think it’s important, because these people who want to destroy our lives or our livelihood here in America; they win when we give in.”
Williams said “America doesn’t give up” and “America doesn’t give in” and that not playing the charity game would be akin to giving in.
“This is America — the greatest country in the world,” he said. “If you punch us, we will punch back. And we’re going to play baseball tomorrow.”