WASHINGTON – The game between the San Diego Padres and Washington was suspended in the sixth inning Saturday night after a shot outside the National Park that caused echoes of shots in the stadium and caused fans to fight for safety in the excavation.
Two people were shot, said Dustin Sternbeck, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Department. Investigators believe, based on preliminary information, that one of the victims was an employee at the stadium, he said.
Washington police later tweeted that “two more victims associated with this incident went into hospitals in the area for treating gunshot wounds.”
“It was just a chaotic scene,” Chief of Staff Mark Carlson told the Associated Press. “We heard what sounded like a quick fire. We did not know where it came from. ”
Padres had just taken the pitch to the bottom of the sixth when several loud pops were heard from the left field side of the ballpark. Players from both teams cleared the field.
Fans sitting in the left field quickly began to leave the middle field gate. Shortly afterwards, fans along the first base page quickly began to leave their seats.
Some fans infiltrated Padres’ third-base excavation to cover while sirens could be heard outside the park.
Ted Borenstein, 26, was at play with his girlfriend and his best friend, celebrating her birthday and “having fun” when he heard two pops. He said the group believed it was practice for a fireworks display.
Borenstein said he quickly realized it was far more serious when he saw people in the stands start filing and saw Padres star short-stopping Fernando Tatis Jr. ‘frolic from the field.’
In the stadium’s Diamond Club, where he and his friends were, people hid under tables and chairs, thinking there was a shooting game inside the stadium.
“People were down to earth, kind of petrified and trying to reassure the younger children,” he said.
“I was surprised I was scared,” he said.
The Nationals initially announced that there had been an incident outside the stadium and sent a message on the scoreboard asking fans to stay inside the stadium.
About 10 minutes later, the team tweeted: “A shooting has been reported outside Third Base Gate at Nationals Park. Fans are encouraged to leave the ballpark via CF and RF gates at this time.”
More than two dozen police cars, ambulances and fire trucks were on the street outside the stadium’s third base side, and a police helicopter hovered overhead.
Arman Ramnath, 27, from nearby Arlington, Virginia and a newly trained lawyer, said he and a friend were sitting in the third base of Nationals Park when they heard what sounded like fireworks.
“We weren’t sure what it was. Then everyone started diving,” Ramnath said.
Ramnath said he and his friend ended up hiding behind the seats for five or more minutes. After a while, people started getting up and leaving, he said, but stadium announcements prompted fans to wait. Eventually, they were allowed to leave.
“It felt very surreal. I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to react,” Ramnath said. “I mean, you hear about it … but you never expect it to be something that could affect you.”
Padres led 8-4 when the match was stopped. It resumes Sunday afternoon followed by the regularly scheduled game.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.