Washington, D.C., has some of the strictest gun ordinances in America, but that didn’t stop several individuals from engaging in a shootout outside of Nationals Park. Three people were wounded, including a female bystander.
A shooting has been reported outside of the Third Base Gate at Nationals Park.
Fans are encouraged to exit the ballpark via the CF and RF gates at this time.
We're working with law enforcement to provide more information as soon as it becomes available.
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 18, 2021
Fans inside the stadium attending the Nationals-Padres game were confused. “We initially thought it was inside the stadium,” said one fan. “It was pure panic right away.”
Hope everyone is safe at Nationals park. I heard a few loud bangs and then a mass exodus. View from my roof pic.twitter.com/MA1B7z83u2
— Jalen Drummond (@jalen_drummond) July 18, 2021
The game was suspended in the middle of the sixth inning, with the Padres leading 8-4. It will be continued on Sunday prior to the regularly scheduled game at 1:00 PM.
“At no time during this incident were individuals inside the stadium attending the game in any type of danger,” said Ashan M. Benedict, the Metropolitan Police Department’s executive assistant police chief. “This was not an active shooter incident.”
It would have been nice to tell the fans that.
Chief Benedict said the vehicles involved in the shooting had been driven away from the stadium. The police found one of them, and two people who had been in the vehicle were being interviewed at a hospital, he said. The bystander who was shot was expected to recover, the authorities said.
The police had initially said that four people were shot, but later revised the total to three.
Fans at the game said they heard what sounded like gunshots coming from the third-base side of the park. Many were initially confused, and the players left the field. Many fans started trying to leave.
There are protocols in place to prevent panic after an incident like this, and they appeared to work pretty well.
Fans that didn’t run for the exits took cover between rows of seats. pic.twitter.com/scXSJNXe03
— Kris Van Cleave (@krisvancleave) July 18, 2021
Nick Butler, 28, said he had been sitting in the stands beyond center field and had been watching the weather, wondering if the game would be rained out. When he saw fans behind home plate sprinting, he assumed the rain had arrived, but then he noticed that some were ducking and that the players were not in the dugouts.
Mr. Butler said he leapt up from his seat and headed to the center field concourse, looking for an exit, turned a corner and was told by a staff member that he could not leave that way. Then he saw “a stampede of people running in our direction.”
That’s when he realized that “something’s happening here,” he said.
For the players, it was particularly difficult. Many of the Padres had their families along for the road trip.
Tatis bolted from the bench down the left-field line Saturday night, helped open a gate to the stands and began ushering a group back to the dugout to shelter.
“Our family, loved ones, little kids. Feel like somebody needed to go get them,” Tatis said Sunday. “I feel like the safest place was the clubhouse and we were trying to get our families into a safe place.”
Mayor Muriel Bowser once said Washington, D.C., was among the nation’s “safest cities.” Perhaps she should amend that ludicrous statement.