WASHINGTON (WUSA9) — After a ten-minute shootout on an Alexandria baseball field, the third-most powerful member of the House lay critically wounded, alone in the middle of a baseball diamond.
A Capitol Police officer had tendons ripped from her ankle, unable to stand while she aimed at the heavily-armed gunman.
After the shooter fell and at least 110 shell casings littered the park, first responders set up a staging area to airlift Rep. Steve Scalise and Special Agent Crystal Griner.
But only one hospital in the District could receive the chopper on the clear Wednesday morning – MedStar Washington Hospital Center.
An arcane D.C. law prevented the closest top-tier trauma center, George Washington University Hospital, from operating a helipad.
But just hours before Scalise returned to the ball field this week, ready to practice for the 2018 Congressional Baseball Game, D.C. Council members unanimously repealed the city’s 30-year-old helipad ban.
The emergency ordinance now clears the way for G.W. University Hospital to build a landing zone eight floors above Foggy Bottom, making a second D.C. helipad available for mass casualty situations.
“We are thankful for the support of our former patients and their loved ones, local neighbors and the entire D.C. community in our pursuit of this effort to ensure vital, emergent healthcare services are available throughout our region,” G.W. University Hospital spokeswoman Susan Griffiths said in an email.
“Most importantly, we look forward to this helipad’s impact on preventing unnecessary deaths and assisting us in saving as many lives as possible.”
The Helicopter Landing Pad Public Nuisance Act of 1987 is now effectively voided, pending approval by Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) and a 30-day period of congressional review.
Hospital officials said Wednesday construction would begin before the end of the year, with the project completed within months.