Washington shooting outside baseball game wounds three

Police say investigation is ongoing but there is no active threat

A baseball game was suspended in the sixth inning on Saturday night after a shooting that caused echoes of gunfire inside Washington's Nationals Park stadium and prompted some fans to scramble for safety in the dugout.

The shooting — an exchange of gunfire between people in two cars outside the stadium — left three people injured, said Ashan Benedict, the Metropolitan Police Department’s executive assistant police chief.

One of the people shot was a woman attending the game between the San Diego Padres and Washington, who was struck while she was outside the stadium, he said. Her injuries weren’t considered life-threatening.

Two people who were in one of the cars later walked into a local hospital with gunshot wounds and were being questioned by investigators, Mr Benedict said. The extent of their injuries wasn’t immediately clear. Investigators are trying to find the second vehicle involved in the shooting.

The gunshots caused panic among fans inside the stadium, some of whom ducked for cover, hiding under tables and behind seats as announcers advised people to stay inside the park.

“It was just a chaotic scene,” umpire crew chief Mark Carlson told the Associated Press. “We heard what sounded like rapid gunfire. We didn’t know where it was coming from.”

The Padres had just taken the field for the bottom of the sixth when several loud pops were heard from the left field side of the ballpark.

Fans sitting in left field quickly began leaving through the centre field gate. A short time later, fans along the first base side hurriedly began leaving their seats.

Some fans crowded into the Padres’ dugout on the third base side for cover, while sirens could be heard outside the park.

Ted Borenstein, 26, was at the game with his girlfriend and his best friend in the stadium's Diamond Club, celebrating her birthday and “having a great time” when he heard two pops. He said the group thought it was practice for a fireworks show.

Mr Borenstein said he quickly realised it was far more serious when he saw people in the stands start filing out and watched Padres star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr “bolt from the field.”

He said people were hiding under tables and chairs in the Diamond Club, fearing there was a shooter in the stadium.

“People were down on the ground, kind of petrified, trying to calm down the younger kids,” he said.

“I was taken aback, I was scared,” he said.

The Nationals initially announced there had been an incident outside the stadium and posted a message on the scoreboard telling fans to remain inside the stadium.

About 10 minutes later, the team tweeted: “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.”

More than two dozen police cars, ambulances and fire engines were on the street outside the third base side of the stadium and a police helicopter hovered overhead.

The Padres led 8-4 when the game was halted. It will be resumed Sunday afternoon, followed by the regularly scheduled game. Officials said fans should expect to see an increased police presence at Sunday’s game.

Updated: July 18th 2021, 10:26 AM