After a shooting at Nationals Park, the San Diego Padres’ game against Washington was suspended in sixth inning on Saturday night. Fans scrambled for safety in the dugout after hearing gunfire outside the stadium.
According to Ashan Benedict (the executive assistant chief of the Metropolitan Police Department), three people were injured in the shooting. It was a gunfire exchange between two vehicles. He said that one of the victims was a woman attending the game, who was struck outside the stadium. The injuries she sustained were not life-threatening.
Benedict stated that two people in the car later went to a local hospital and received gunshot wounds. Investigators were questioning them, but the extent of their injuries was not immediately known. Investigators are still looking for the second vehicle in the shooting.
Fans panicked inside the stadium when gunshots were heard. Some fled to safety, hiding behind tables or behind seats while announcers warned them to stay in the park.
Chief umpire crew Mark Carlson said that it was a chaotic scene. “We heard rapid gunfire. “We didn’t know from where it was coming.”
When the Padres took the field in the sixth, loud pops could be heard from the left side of the ballpark.
Left field fans quickly started to leave through the centerfield gate. Soon, fans on the first base side started to leave their seats quickly.
Fans crowded the Padres’ third base side dugout to get cover. Outside, sirens could still be heard.
Ted Borenstein (26), was there with his girlfriend and best friend. They were celebrating Ted’s birthday and were “having a wonderful time”. He heard two pops. The group thought it was practice for fireworks shows, he said.
Borenstein stated that he realized quickly that it was much more serious after he saw people start to file out and Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. “bolt off the field.”
People were hiding under chairs and tables in the stadium’s Diamond Club. They thought there was a shooter.
He said, “People were on the ground, petrified, trying calm down the younger children.”
He said, “I was taken by surprise, I was afraid.”
Initial announcements by the Nationals about an incident outside the stadium were made and posted on the scoreboard a message encouraging fans to stay inside.
The team then tweeted, “A shooting was reported outside the Third Base Gate at Nationals Park.” Fans are asked to exit the ballpark via RF and CF gates.
There were more than twenty police cars, ambulances, fire engines and police cars on the street just outside the third base side. A police helicopter hovered above.
Washington is experiencing an increase in violent crimes and homicides, just like other American cities. In a shooting that took place Friday night, a 6-year-old girl was shot to death and five others were injured in the incident. The incident occurred three miles from Nationals Park.
Just hours before Saturday’s shooting, Washington’s mayor and chief of police announced a $60,000 reward to anyone who can help in this case.
They had an additional incident to investigate at nightfall.
Arman Ramnath (27), a Virginia native, was a recent law student and said that he and his friend were sitting on the third base side in Nationals Park when they heard the sound of fireworks.
“We didn’t know what it was.” Ramnath stated, “Then everyone began ducking.”
Ramnath stated that he and his friend stopped hiding behind the seats for at least five minutes. He said that people began to get up and leave, but the stadium announcements advised them to stay put. They were eventually allowed to leave.
It felt surreal. Ramnath stated that she wasn’t sure how to respond. “It’s something you hear about, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it will affect you.
Initial police statements stated that one of the victims was believed to have worked at the stadium. However, this was later proven false.
When the game was stopped, the Padres were leading 8-4. The regular game will resume on Sunday afternoon. Officials stated that fans can expect an increase in police presence at Sunday’s game.
San Diego had four hits from Tatis. Ryan Zimmerman scored for Washington.
Tatis wrote on Twitter: “Hope everybody is safe!”