Congressional Baseball Shooting Survivors Appeal to FBI to Reclassify 'Suicide by Cop' Designation

FBI technicians walk-in close formation to examine areas of a baseball field for evidence where shots were fired during a Congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Va., June 14, 2017. (Mike Theiler/Reuters)

Survivors of the 2017 Republican baseball practice shooting are asking FBI Director Christopher Wray to publicly designate the incident an act of domestic terrorism and reject its “suicide by cop” classification.

Ohio Republican Representative Brad Wenstrup raised the issue during a House Intelligence Committee hearing, telling Wray that the “suicide by cop” characterization of the attack did not accurately describe the event, during which brave first responders ended the active shooter threat and saved the other innocent lives.

Republican survivors have said that the current classification undermines the heroism of the people on the field that day.

Matt Mika, who coached the Republican team and suffered gun shot wounds in the chest and arm commented on the designation, “We all said that’s not accurate.”

Mika said that suicide by cop means the police are provoked to engage. He said that a suicide by cop situation occurred at the Capitol last month when Noah Green, an extremist support of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, plowed into a police barricade with his vehicle and attempted to stab officers with a knife.

The police presence at the congressional baseball practice was minimal, however.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise who was hospitalized due to gunshot injuries from the shooting called the FBI’s suicide by cop designation “disturbing.”

“He went there to kill Republicans, and he had a list of Republicans in his pocket,” Scalise said. “He specifically asked if that was the Republican practice before he went back and got his guns and came out. He didn’t know the security detail with me were cops, because they were plainclothes officers,” he added.

“And it’s not fair to the police officers who were involved that day, both Capitol Police, as well as the Virginia police, who acted bravely and heroically doing their jobs,” Scalise continued.

On June 14, 2017, a gunman fired his weapon and sprayed bullets at a baseball practice with 24 Republican members of Congress and over a half-dozen other people present. The group was meeting ahead of their annual fundraising baseball game against the Democratic team.

The perpetrator was later identified by investigators as a Bernie Sanders supporter with a history of anti-GOP political activity including bashing Republicans on social media platforms and penning letters verbally attacking conservatives in his local newspaper.

Multiple survivors told Fox News that they felt the suicide by cop classification downplayed the politically-motivated nature of the shooting. Many of them opposed the decision during the 2017 briefing and felt it was inaccurate and insulting.

Ryan Thompson, a former Marine and chief of staff to former Representative Joe Barton said, “The truth is this guy had a list in his pocket with Republican members of Congress listed on it and basically had people to kill list.”

“That’s not suicide by cop. That’s an attempted assassination.”

Thompson witnessed the gun shots strike down Mika, Capitol Police Special Agent Crystal Griner, Scalise, and aide to Texas Representative Roger Williams Zach Barth.

“This guy seemed to have unlimited ammunition,” Thompson continued. “He was doing magazine changes… another example of how this wasn’t a suicide by cop. He was there to inflict a maximum amount of pain and death.”

The FBI received Wenstrup’s request to assign a new designation to the attack but declined to comment on its status.

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