Friend: VA shooting victim ‘really is loved’

Former colleague says lobbyist positively impacted several people in MI politics

An undated courtesy photo of Matt Mika. (Matt Mika/LinkedIn)

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — The Michigan man who was among the victims of Wednesday’s shooting at a congressional baseball practice near Washington, D.C. got his start in politics in Lansing.

Matt Mika’s family confirmed Wednesday afternoon he was shot multiple times in the attack in Alexandria, Virginia. He underwent surgery and remained in the intensive care unit in critical condition. His family said he is expected to stay in the hospital for several days.

Mika, an Oakland County native, currently works as the director of government relations at Tyson Foods in Washington.

Former colleague and friend David Worthams spoke to 24 Hour News 8 Wednesday after learning Mika is one of the victims.

“It was just shocking it makes me realize as big of a place as Lansing and Washington is, it really is a small world. We have connections all over the place,” Worthams said.

Worthams is the policy director for the Michigan Bankers Association, but got his start at the Michigan Capitol in the Republican Policy Office around the same time Mika began working in Lansing in 2001.

“He loved to campaign. He loved that part of the process. When he got the opportunity to work for (former U.S. Rep.) Dave Camp and eventually for (U.S. Rep. Tim) Walberg, he kind of said farewell to Lansing,” he explained, recalling Mika moved to the nation’s capital around 2005.

As the two got to know each other more, Mika’s love for sports — especially Detroit teams — became pretty obvious.

“He was very active with the one of the softball teams that we had, some of the staffers would make. I was never that good but on occasion would go to one of the games and have beers afterwards… Anything dealing with Detroit — whether it was the Lions, the Tigers, the Red Wings, the Pistons — he was all about that,” Worthams said.

Walberg, who is from the state’s southeast side, on Wednesday expressed his prayers for Mika’s recovery, among other lawmakers who came to know Mika over the course of his political career.

Worthams told 24 Hour News 8 he was also praying for Mika and added that as more details come out, so will stories from those who have been positively impacted by Mika.

“You will see how many people Matt has impacted in a positive way and the type of guy he is and he really is loved,” he said.

A full statement released by Mika’s family on Wednesday:

“First and foremost, thanks to all who have expressed concern about Matt’s condition. We continue to be in disbelief that he would be part of this heinous attack.

“Matt suffered multiple gunshot wounds. He recently came out of surgery but remains in the ICU in critical condition and we expect him to stay there for at least several days. Our family is now here with him and we continue to ask for privacy and understanding while we focus on Matt and his recovery.

“Many have asked about Matt and what we can share about him. While the attack today was a terrible surprise, Matt’s presence on the ball field, helping longtime colleagues and friends was not. He is a very thoughtful, fun-loving person who is competitive and loyal; all things which contributed to his continued commitment to the Congressional Baseball Game.”