At the outset of this article, it is imperative to state that this author has no inside information, other than what has been made public in the press, with regards to the nature of the wounds suffered during the June 14th mass shooting at the Republican congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia, nor with regards to the treatment provided to the victims at the scene of the shooting.

As reported by news outlets, at 7:09 AM local time on June 14th, James Hodgkinson opened fire on the GOP baseball team as it practiced, firing over 50 rounds from a 7.62 caliber rifle (possibly an SKS) as well as a 9 mm handgun.  Two Capitol police officers — David Bailey and Crystal Griner — were wounded, as was Tyson Food lobbyist Matt Mika, congressional staffer Zach Barth, and U.S. Congressman Steve Scalise.

All of the victims suffered gunshot wounds to various locations on their bodies.  The shooter himself was killed by either the Capitol police officers or quickly-arriving Alexandria police officers, or a combination of both.

It is critical for the purposes of studying how to respond to these types of events — both tactically and medically — that the details are eventually released to the public, in some form and at a point deemed appropriate commensurate with the ongoing investigation.  Some details have already been released, including details of the actions on scene, and on the condition and wounding of various victims.  We should applaud the release of those details so far.

Military, fire, medical, and law enforcement professionals need to see descriptions of the wounds. They need to hear what treatments were provided in the field, during transport, and at the hospital.  They also need to be made aware of the medical outcomes that resulted.  Only in this way can these professionals refine their tactics, techniques, and procedures, to better handle such events in the future and save as many lives as possible.

Given what we currently know, the gunshot wounds inflicted on the victims were in the chest (multiple rounds into Mika), the left hip (pelvic area of Scalise), the ankle of Griner, and the leg of Barth.  It was unclear where Bailey was injured.  We also know that, according to Senator Jeff Flake’s own firsthand account of the incident, the wounded Congressman Steve Scalise — shot in the hip — lay bleeding on the baseball field for ten minutes while police returned fire and tried to neutralize the shooter.  Others applied an improvised tourniquet to the leg of Barth.

The above is a classic example of a “care under fire” scenario within the Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) curriculum.  What that means is that you are presented with wounded personnel that need immediate life-saving interventions, but you are still taking hostile fire and thus the care you can provide to the wounded is very limited. 

TCCC teaches that while taking hostile fire, the primary consideration must be returning fire, and neutralizing the threat so that you can minimize the risk of additional casualties.  At the same time, you must attempt to move friendly casualties, via drag or carry, to cover and concealment.  Only then should treatment be administered.