A female police officer with less than 18 months of experience has been praised for her heroic actions during last week’s shooting at a congressional baseball practice when a lone gunman shot and wounded five people, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise.
Alexandria Police Chief Michael Brown hailed Officer Nicole Battaglia and two other officers - Kevin Jobe, a 16-year Alexandria police veteran and Alexander Jensen - who arrived just minutes after the gunman began shooting.
“[Battaglia] immediately started taking fire from the suspect, and she jumped out of the car, without cover, and moved towards the firefight. Not away from it, towards it, to the point where she was actually pinned down in the parking lot with a barrage of weapon fire from the shooter," Brown said, according to NBC Washington. "That act alone, probably, in my opinion, diverted the attention of the shooter away from the other officers, allowing them to get in position to deal with the situation."
Brown said Battaglia drew the gunman's fire and took cover behind parked cars, which allowed two other officers to return fire. The shooter was neutralized less than three minutes after the officers arrived on the scene, according to CBS News. The gunman, 66-year-old James Hodgkinson, was shot at by both local and Capitol Police. He died at a nearby hospital.
"You can't teach the kind of instinct that I saw with the three officers here," Brown said. "Frankly, it's a test that all of us will get when we get that call. We all think about that when you put the badge on."