By Denise Dunbar | [email protected]
Three Alexandria police officers were on the scene at Eugene Simpson field on June 14 within two minutes of the emergency dispatch being placed, Alexandria Police Chief Michael Brown said Monday afternoon at a press conference.
Brown’s statement was the first glimpse into the role Alexandria police played in the early morning gunfight with James Hodgkinson after he opened fire on Republican Rep. Steve Scalise, staffers and lobbyists who were practicing at the field. Officers Kevin Jobe, Nicole Battaglia and Alexander Jensen were the Alexandria officers who were part of the gunfight.
When the shooting began shortly after 7 a.m., two Capitol police officers in plain clothes immediately engaged the shooter. One of the Capitol police officers actually went onto the field and got the shooter to move down the third base line toward home plate.
“I cannot emphasize the courage that it must have taken for those two officers to stop that initial engagement with that shooter,” Brown said.
At that point, the shooter and officers retreated to positions of cover and were trading fire. Jobe, a 16-year veteran of the APD, was apparently the first Alexandria officer to arrive at the scene. He advanced on foot from Monroe Avenue without cover toward the gunfight.
Battaglia immediately began taking fire upon pulling her patrol car onto the scene. She jumped out of her vehicle and moved toward the gunman while being shot at. She wound up pinned down under fire from the shooter behind a vehicle. Brown said that, although Battaglia was not able to shoot back at the gunman, in drawing the shooter’s attention away from the field, Battaglia enabled other officers to get into place to ultimately take the gunman down.
Upon pulling up to the scene, Jensen used his vehicle for protection and took out the departmental rifle. He engaged the subject at the same time. The suspect moved around behind home plate at this time and was ultimately taken down by officer fire at the scene. At that point the scene was considered “neutralized.”
Brown said that within four minutes, 38 seconds of the city police dispatch, the suspect was stopped.
“I could not be more proud of the officers of the Alexandria police department who showed up that day….One of the things that’s real interesting is when an officer shows up it’s a point of courage. [They think] ‘Do I drive by and assess the scene or do I step in and go into a fight? Maybe a fight that I don’t know about.’ These officers got that call and they answered that call on the 14th of June,” Brown said.
Battaglia has been with the Alexandria Police Department for one-and-a-half years and Jensen for two years.