A terrifying scene unfolded at Nationals Park on Saturday, enough to suspend a game against the San Diego Padres.
Four people were shot directly outside the stadium's third base gate, the DC Police Department confirmed on Twitter. Police told The Washington Post that a man had been shot in the leg and a woman shot in the back, while two others walked into local hospitals for treatment.
The Nationals reacted to the confusion by cautioning fans to stay inside the stadium, but later confirmed there had been a shooting and encouraged fans to exit through gates in the outfield. The building was later evacuated, including the press box, while the police blocked off the scene of the crime.
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
Sam Fortier of The Washington Post reports that stadium employees called the incident a drive-by shooting.
The shots appeared partially audible on the MASN broadcast as the Nationals returned to the dugout after the top of the sixth inning:
There certainly is a series of loud popping sounds that causes everyone to crane their necks in this direction pic.twitter.com/Kzp868C8Ip
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) July 18, 2021
Sounds of gunshots were clearly audible in the park, to the point that several fans could be seen fleeing out of the center field and right field gates in the immediate aftermath.
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
Even Nationals and Padres players weren't immune to the panic. Padres stars Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado reportedly opened the gate to the field so spectators could run into the dugout with them, while Nationals pitcher Patrick Corbin, who started the game, was seen in the concourse.
— Alaina (@alaina1424) July 18, 2021
Shots fired outside Nationals Park. Many people, including Nationals SP Patrick Corbin, fled for the concourse. Many have taken shelter in bathrooms or suites. @nbcwashington pic.twitter.com/BephZ0kBVO
— Nick Leimbach (@nleimbach) July 18, 2021
The Padres were up 8-4 in the middle of the sixth at the time of the shooting. The Nationals later announced the game had been called out of safety precautions and would resume at 1:05 p.m. ET on Sunday.
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