An Update On The Recent Shooting, What You Haven’t Heard! Congressman Barry Loudermilk who was one of the closest guys who didn’t get shot but who has been shot at a number of times is going to share with us the details that you haven’t heard! It is an unbelievable story that you don’t want to miss!
Air Date: 06/20/2017
Guests: Barry Loudermilk and David Barton.
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Transcription note: As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.
Welcome to WallBuilders Live, I’m your host David Barton! We cover the intersection of faith and the culture and today it’s going to be one specific thing that’s happened recently.
You heard last week how the Republican baseball team was attacked and the guy went after him firing 50- 70 shots, wounded four killed no one, which in itself was absolutely amazing.
When it happened I texted several of my friends in Congress and said, “Hey guys, are you ok? Were you on the baseball team? What was happening?” And several of them were.
One of the one of the guys I texted was Congressman Barry Loudermilk out of Georgia. Barry texted back and said that he was there. I ended up talking to Barry and it’s just amazing the details on the story and I’ve heard a number of these congressmen be on radio and TV talk about the incident, but nobody’s heard the detail that Barry has.
So, normally Tim Barton and Rick Green are with us but they’re both on the road right now. So just because this was such a breaking kind of a story and now we’re a few days down from it I wanted to get Barry on to record something and let you hear from Barry exactly what happened.
Once you hear what happened it is an unbelievable story in itself, it’s undeniable that God was really present on that field that day. It’s going to be a great story. We’re going to take a break, when we come back we’ll be with Congressman Barry Loudermilk of Georgia who was right there in the middle, maybe the closest guy that didn’t get shot but who was shot at a number of times with what happened to the Republican baseball team last week.
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God’s Hand Was There Even Before The First Shot Was Fired
This is day Barton back with you. We have Congressman Barry Loudermilk, Congressman, thank you for being with us today.
David, it’s my pleasure and I’m honored to be able to be on with you.
Yeah, I bet that is in a very literal sense. I mean, if you had been to the office that morning and somebody said, “Hey, let’s let’s do something surreal.” You could have written down ten thousand surreal things that might have happened to you on that day and that would not have- you would probably have written, “get hit by a meteor” before you’d write, “be involved in the gunfight playing baseball.” I mean, that’s just wild.
It is. The fact that I’m here and all that happens it is clear that God was on that field that day. It’s clear that he’s still got a purpose for me on this earth and I’m going to live every day to hopefully achieve whatever that he has purposed.
You know, after we heard the news of what happened and what was going on I texted you and I’m just going to read this. I said, “Barry were you at the shooting this morning? Didn’t know if you were a baseball player but I figured you were athletic enough to be there. Just curious.” You responded, “Yes, got shot at several times. I can attest that God was there otherwise I wouldn’t be here.” I thought, “That’s pretty profound because we were just talking a few minutes after this thing’s been going on and already at that point it was really clear to you that God showed up in that thing.”
He was showing up before it happened and I didn’t even realize it. I mean, there were some things falling into place and my chief of staff normally drives me to the game, picks me up at about 6 o’clock in the morning, we start practice 6:30, we have to drive from D.C. over to Alexandria.
But the night before I had to go buy new cleats because my cleats just blew out on me at the practice on Tuesday. So he loaned me his car and my wife went to get cleats. And I told him, I said, “Don’t worry, don’t worry about getting up in the morning, if you want I’ll just take your car since I have it and I’ll go to practice.” And he thought it was a good idea to be able to sleep in.
But he woke up that morning and felt like he had to go to practice with me so he caught an uber over to my apartment and drove us. Then he pulled into the parking lot at the fields and he went straight to park along the third baseline.
I had this strong sense that he better not do that. It was strange, I had no idea why. I said, “Rob, let’s not park here.” He looked at me like I was crazy, “Ok.” and I said, “Why don’t we park up there today?”
The parking spot that he pulling into was where the shooter was standing behind this building where I would have been probably about 50 feet away exposing his car. Moreso, he would not have had an escape route because he would have been in the line of firing from where he fired the first shot until he worked himself down behind third base.
So it was just little things like that even before it happened that shows me God’s hand was there and was active even before the first shot was fired.
When That First Shot Was Fired
Once it started how long did it take you to know what was happening?
When this thing is going on it’s amazing how fast you find and process. Don’t panic, if you try to assess the situation. I’m the designated hitter for the Republicans team, we were doing some live pitching and fielding. And so I hit three rounds in the batting cage and decided to go out on the field. So I ran on the field to the dugout, grabbed a drink of water, and ran up the steps, picked up a batting helmet, put it on, walked over toward home plate.
And I was standing there, I hadn’t even put my batting gloves on yet when I heard the first shots fired. I knew as a gun enthusiast and I know you are too, I knew that was a gunshot. But the mind was processing, “I’m in a suburban area, why would I hear that gunshot?” It wasn’t a handgun, it was a larger than an AR, that is what my mind was processing. It was familiar.
Wow, you recognize from the shot that it was a larger rifle and not just like urban violence? You knew it was something bigger when you heard it, wow.
It was, and it turned out he was firing an SKS, which I have one of those. I have an AR and I have an SKS, it was a larger caliber rifle. But my mind was still processing, “Well, let me look over to the security.” Now, that the shot came from my left down the third base area. They were parked off the first place side in their SUV. “Let me look to see what they are doing. That will tell me if I need to be concerned or not.”
So I looked and they were both exiting the vehicle with concerned looks on their face. And it was about that time I heard, I believe it was, Gary Palmer from Alabama hollar, “He’s got a gun!” Then shots started ringing out.
He Practically Had A Target On His Back
Immediately turned and started running toward the gate. Several went to the dugout. Again, my mind was processing, “Dugout, bad idea. Concrete walls all around, bullets rickashay.” So I decided that I just need to get off the field, it’s a large killing zone. I need to get something between me and the shooter and then reassess what to do next.
As I was running bullets- that morning I decided- I haven’t worn this jersey to practice yet. And it’s a college that’s in our district, Kennesaw State University, and unfortunately their colors are bright yellow. So I have this bright yellow jersey on, then I’m realizing I’m not a small guy.
I know, that’s right. You’re a sizable athlete and you now have a neon yellow jersey, so to speak. Yeah, do we just go ahead draw a bull’s eye on it while we’ve got you there. I mean, my graciously.
Exactly. As I am running I see the ground erupting. There are shots hitting the ground.
So he is now shooting at you? He’s turned and he’s firing at you?
Yeah, I’m not processing if he is shooting at me, I’m just processing he’s shooting, they are close to me. And as I go out the gate I hear a clink and apparently a bullet hit the fence. As soon as I get out-
He was shooting at you at this point?
It appears that that was what he was doing. Never did- Look, you’re talking, what is the distance from third base to first base? That’s not a very hard throw of a baseball. Add another 10 feet to that standing outside the fence at third base, that’s not a hard shot to take.
Now, what is it? A hundred and twenty feet from third to first. So you’re talking 130- 140 feet. At most you’re talking 40-45 yards, that’s an easy shot with an SKS rifle.
I could actually hear at times bullets going past. There was a wooden shed that was just outside the gate. I went in there thinking, “Ok, that looks like it’s constructed out of wood, it wouldn’t stop a bullet, but it will conceal me and give me an opportunity to then reassess what’s going on.”
The Shooter Was Advancing
When I rounded the corner of the shed I’m facing to the side of the security details black SUV. I see the female agent sitting in the cab at that point on the radio making, she is frantic calls. The other agent, the male, is around the back corner and he is trying to get eyes on the shooter.
I then see Matt Mika laying on the ground on his back and he’s already covered in blood. We had several other- there’s another unsung hero of this. His name is Brian Kelly, a strong believer, he works out with the team, I believe he works as a lobbyist up there. A strong man of God.
God put us together there. We were both by the shed. There were a few others there. We also looked at about to our seven o’clock, about thirty yards out, were several members of congress that were single file behind an oak tree.
Brain had eyes on the shooter, he saw him coming down from third base working his way toward home plate and he is now hollering. The officers who have not seen the shooter have their position.
I decided to try to get to Matt and I start moving toward him. I get close enough to see that he’s been shot in the chest, bleeding very badly, but he is still conscious, he is still alive.
Brain sees the shooters position and tells me to get back. So I come back toward the shed and rounds starts hitting the ground around us. Apparently, the shooters then moves himself to reposition himself. Brian saw that there was a break and so he hollard for everyone else that was there was there to retreat further back about another 30 yards, there’s a concrete restroom building and they were able to get out of the way. There were fewer targets now. And brain and I decided that we were going to stay there and keep eyes on the shooter.
I was going to keep talking to Matt, he was very badly wounded. Imagine an SKS round hitting your back and exiting the center of your chest. And he is laying on his back, and every now and then he would twitch, and I knew he was alive. But every time we tried to help him sights would ring out.
He repositioned himself behind that concrete building. I would say 40 yards away from us. And between us and him is the security details SUV and the two officers. At this point they’ve get location on him, he’s behind this building, he’s coming out, and he starts shooting in how did he start shooting at the SUV.
Last night they found at least five bullet holes in the side of the SUV. At some point he was shooting under the SUV because he took out the female officer. She got in the ankle and she went down in a sitting position, she was immobilized.
I then saw Matt who had just laying on his back, a bullet hole in his chest, bleeding profusely, which move toward his left side and then just fall back on his back. What I found out later is a round went underneath the vehicle and hit him in the arm.
So now he has a bullet wound in his chest and he’s just got hit in the arm with another SKS round, and the guy is still alive.
Agent Baily, now he’s the only one in the gunfight. And this is all transpiring over about a seven minute period. So I’m really compressing the time frame here. There was between, I figured as I recounted it, 40-50 rounds or even 50-70 rounds were fired from the SKS.
And as it turned out, the FBI told me the majority they found were concentrated in that area where brian and I were. And neither one of us were scratched. Brian told me later that evening that a round hit two feet above my head. I joked at him and i said, “ at the good thing I was still wearing the batting helmet.”
Yeah, good to have a sense of humor.
Taking Down The Shooter
I never did think to take the yellow jersey off. And I had a black Under Armor shirt under, it would have been much better! But for some reason God wanted it there, maybe it was for, I don’t know.
But to his face that type of concentrated fire and to not be scratched, that was an act of God. Finally, in a heroic move, agent Bailey totally left the cover of the vehicle, exposed himself in the parking lot until he could get an angle on the shooter and started engaging the shooter who had an SKS rifle with a handgun.
Alexander, the police arrived at that time and he started shooting at them. And they were, long story short, apparently he ran out of ammo or his gun jammed. At that point with her down and I saw Bailey get injured in his leg, I couldn’t tell, I saw his pants move quickly and him start limping. He got shot in the leg or something happened so he was injured and I was trying to count his shots because I thinking he’s about to run out of bullets.
So Brian and I decided that if Bailey goes down one of us has to go get agent riders gun. That’s the only thing we could do at that point. Fortunately that didn’t have to happen. And Bailey was advancing, we decided that if Bailey goes down the shooter could come arround the other side of the building and we would not be able to see him because our visual would be obscured by the building that we were sheltered behind and we needed a better vantage point. I’m not sure what Brian did at that point but I chose to go to the oak tree. I had a full view and I saw the shooter come from the right side of the building, he was moving from the left to the right of the concrete building.
And again, I was maybe 30-40 yards away. He walked out, clearly exposed himself just as casual as can be lifted a handgun fired two rounds that agent Bailey. Agent Bailey told him, “Drop your weapon.” Which, I don’t know why they have to say that. He told him, “Drop your weapon.” He took another shot at Bailey, never hit Bailey, Bailey shot him twice and brought him down.
At that point. I ran straight up to Matt who was laying there. Now he’s been shot twice. It was a miracle that Matt was still alive with the amount of blood that he had lost. I knelt down next to him and I thought, “What can I do at this point?”
I just laid my hand on his forehead, I thought for a moment and then I prayed. And prayed that God would give him life and that he would be healed of his wounds, prayed in Jesus name. And I told Matt, I said, “You’re going to be alright.”
I turned to agent Ryder, I could see she was hit in the ankle, and I asked if she had a med kit. She said it was in the back of the vehicle. I found the med kit and by the time I got back EMT was already down with Matt and with her.
So that’s what I found out that Scalise could have actually been hit. When he was hit he was at second base. He was hit in the hip and he drug himself toward outfield. We had Brad Wenstrup who is a combat doctor with combat experience, he’s on our baseball team. Brad and Senator Flake we’re already out tending to Scalise and I took the medic kit to him. To my surprise, by the time I got out there agent Bailey, who had just shot the shooter, was already out fixing on Scalise. That’s when I found out that he indeed was wounded. And that’s how close we came to that just being a massacre.
Well, the guy obviously new tactics because he knew to drive you guys back, he was watching his flank, watching for where people were moving, and to be that tactically aware, and fire that many rounds, injuring four folks but kill none, I don’t think you could ever plan that scenario at 30 to 40 yard shots with an SKS and not bring down more than that. That’s just unbelievable on his face, that somebody is that tactically aware and yet the bullets didn’t hit.
Even with Matt, I think told me that the bullet went through missed his heart, nicked a lung, broke some ribs, but for an SKS to go through the middle center mass of your chest, and you’re going to live through that, and it didn’t get any vital organs, the chances are slim to none, that’s unbelievable.
And they get it again in the arm.
I Was Surprised That Matt Was Still Alive
The most emotion that I had that day was we went on the House floor at noon, they sent a bus for us to pick all of us up out at the practice field and took us back to Capitol Hill. Of course I had nothing, my ID, my wallet, everything I have was in the dugout. So I was able to convince the new officers they had that I was actually a member and I needed to get into my office. Of course the security got really tight around the Capitol.
You bet it did.
Because I’m in baseball pants that have blood on them. It probably was highly suspicious. But my wife was in the office and so we got in there, I got cleaned up, we went to the House floor and Paul Ryan made an incredible speech, “You attacked one of us you attack all of us.”
Afterwards, he and I and Louie Gohmert and Steve Pearce, Steve Pearce had a different viewpoint. He actually ends up in the parking lot with my chief of staff Rob. And Rob could see me and see the shooter. And he kept telling me that we were right at the concentration to the fire. Which the FBI verified the next day when I went back out to the site that that we were was the concentration of most of the fire throughout that entire day.
But at 4:30- Brain knew I was really concerned because I was sticking around Matt, I was surprised that Matt was still alive when the helicopter came and took him off. Brian called me at 4:30 and he said, “I just wanted you to know personally, I just got off the phone with Matt’s parents, he is going to be fine. It Missed his heart, missed his spine, nicked a lung, and busted some ribs. The bullet that hit his arm, he is going to have a little bit mobility issues, but they expect full recovery.”
He is alive.
That’s just unbelievable.
There Were Injuries Caused Not Just From The Gunshots
So now that you’re a few days on the other side of this, looking back, what strikes you? What stays with you? What dominates your thinking on this thing now?
It’s one of those where as soon as it was over I went up to the police, there are dozens of police officers swarming everywhere, they get all of us up on the tennis court. I’m looking around, and it was just the ones that were shot that were injured. Roger Williams of Texas broke his ankle diving into the dugout.
Oh, did he really? Wow.
You know, I knew he – Joe Barton’s son, got him in there, and his staffer was shot through the calf. I didn’t know Roger broke his ankle. My goodness, wow.
And we had staff members bleeding from- ok, you’ve got people who are swine diving on concrete, on pavement. Guys are trying to leap and dive over fences in the outfield and getting cut up. I mean, there were more than just a gunshots, I was kind of amazed.
Now we had EMT’s just trying to treat- when you consider what happened, it’s a vary minor wound.
Roger is one of our coaches, Roger Williams. He came to the tennis court and I realized at that point I’ve got two things, I can panic now, or I can console some other people that are.
And I said, “Lord, give me the strength to show some leadership and help others.” And so we went around and I asked Roger if we could bring everybody to the center and let’s pray. In fact, there were two others that said the same thing at the same time. So we brought everybody together, we prayed, since then.
The PTS After The Attack
You asked about, “How does it look?” You always wonder about the PTS. It really didn’t strike me, you’re still running on adrenaline.
That evening I went to sleep, it wasn’t too bad. But I woke up three hours later, at that point every time I closed my eyes I’d be hearing gunshots, I’m running off field, it wasn’t panicky, it’s just you’re reliving it.
The next day Brian was with me, he called a friend of his who was a Navy SEAL, and he said, “Look, I want you to go back and I want you to start at the moment you woke up and recall everything that you did in as most detail that you can and write it down. Once you complete that exercise, it may take days, I want you to go back and now relive it in black and white. It is something that will put it in the distant past to you.”
And so I’m doing the exercise of walking through it and it’s unleashing some things that were suppressed. I never heard the screams when people were being shot. Others talked about it. As I’m going back and writing it down now I’m remembering those sounds.
But every time I write something down I see the hand of God there.
This guy- You could say, “Look, SKS, anybody can pick one up and just go shoot.” If you look at what the FBI has already released on it, he was experienced.
Yeah that’s right.
He had already been arrested, the police had already had him because of complaints of him target practicing back at his home.
An Army Ranger Complement
Unbelievable. So how are you? It’s stressful, there’s no question. With your spiritual relationship I’m not worried about long term problems for you. But you were telling me that Tim Murphy called you and said that really what you went through is worse than what the military goes through.
Which was really surprising, because I have so much respect for Air Force. I served in the air force, my son’s Airborne, and he tells me that he’s serving in the real military-
Well, I started to make that comment, you didn’t serve in the armed forces because you were the Air Force, your hired contractor. So that’s my army kids talking through me.
I’ve got a good friend who’s a Ranger, once a Ranger always a Ranger. And he just texted me a little while ago, he said, “I just saw a television recap of your experience out there and from an Army Ranger I’m going to give you the best compliment we can. You don’t stink.” I said, “I’ll take it.”
I Had A Greater Weapon Than Any Enemy
Tim Murphy here, he’s a commander in the Navy, he’s also a congressperson, and he works in mental health and PTS. And he’s calling everybody that was out there and we talked for a while yesterday. He called and left a message and my wife said that I need to call him back.
I was with the airport in D.C. getting ready to fly back to Atlanta. I just kind of go into a zone, and she’s watching my face, and she sees my countenance. Because I’m reliving an aspect of it. I’m putting myself there so I can document it. She said, “I can see you are stressed.” I said, “No, I’m actually putting myself there so I get this down and cover the exercise.”
So I talked with him and as we were talking he complimented me, “You’re doing the right things, but let me tell you. What you went through is actually more stressful than what the combat fighters go through.” And this is coming from him, this is not from me. My son is airborne and I told him this yesterday too and he agreed. He said for three factors one, when the guys go into combat they’re trained and they’re expecting this. Two, they have a way of fighting back. And three, they’re wearing *. When you go through a situation like this you have none of that and you’re totally exposed and you’re totally vulnerable.”
But I had a weapon that was greater than anything that the government could issue. And that was God.
And that’s why you’re with us today. And quite frankly, for a guy experienced like that with as many targets as he had to have four wounded and no deaths is absolutely a God thing. That’s just unbelievable. So man, I texted you right after it happened, I was really glad to hear back from him, but I had no clue of the depth of the story of what you went through.
I mean, you said you were shot at but that just didn’t tell the story. But thank you for taking time to do that Barry. And I thank you for seeing God in it. I mean, there’s just, I mean, we’ve all heard parts of it on the news. But for you being there, living through it, and seeing it, and serving others, and you guys getting together and praying with everybody, and watching out after everybody that was there, thank you for doing that, brother. We appreciate it.
I also want to highlight again Brian. God got us both to that place for some reason and at the game that night he came up and his arm around me and he said, “We are foxhole buddies forever.”
He is a 100 percent true American and a strong believer. And I was honored to be there with him.
Thanks Barry, appreciate it man.
Amazing, amazing story. And you know, I’ just let Barry share and go at it today and so we haven’t taken normal breaks etc. But the story is worth more than anything else we can do in the way of taking breaks. So we’ve gone all the way through the program. You’ve heard what’s happened, gives you a good reason to be thankful that God still got his eye on America, still got his eye on our congressman, still got his eye on what’s happening here, he’s got his eye on what’s happening here.
God’s got his eye on you as well. Things are happening all around us and God’s providence intervenes sometimes in ways we don’t expect and things we didn’t see. But he was definitely there at the baseball field for the Republican team last week. Look forward to seeing you tomorrow. WallBuilders Live, God Bless, David.