Terrified fans run for lives as gunfire erupts outside Nationals game, 3 victims include a fan

A shooting outside the MLB’s Washington Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., during a game Saturday night caused panic among fans a night after a separate incident left a six-year-old girl dead and five other people wounded Friday night, officials with the Metropolitan Police Department said.

The Saturday incident occurred around 9:30 p.m. local time during the bottom of the 6th inning of a game between the Nationals and the San Diego Padres. Reports said that the shots occurred near the third-base gate just outside the stadium.

(Courtesy: NBC 4)

Police said that the incident involved a shootout between two vehicles. Two people in one vehicle were wounded, while a female bystander, reportedly a fan, was also struck by gunfire.

Video from the park and surrounding area shows panicked fans running onto the field, some of them into dugouts, in response to the sounds of gunfire.

The sound of shots fired caused some people to flee the stadium, while other fans in the stands took refuge in both teams’ dugouts as an announcer is heard asking everyone to remain inside the stadium.

Another video shows fans streaming quickly into a stadium bar, with some overturning tables to utilize as shields.

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

“People were down on the ground, kind of petrified, trying to calm down the younger kids,” Ted Borenstein, 26, who was at the game with his girlfriend celebrating her birthday, told News 4 in Washington.

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

“It felt very surreal. I wasn’t really sure how to react,” Arman Ramnath, 27, who was sitting near third base with a friend, told the local NBC affiliate. “I mean, you hear about it … but you never expect it to be something that could affect you.”

After a short while, fans were informed they could exit the stadium.

As details began to stream in, the Washington Nationals notified fans the team was “working with law enforcement to provide more information as soon as it becomes available.”

A follow-up statement from the team said that the game, in which the Padres led 8-4, will resume on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. and be completed as a normal regular-season nine-inning game. Fans holding tickets and parking passes for Saturday night’s game can use them for admission to both games on Sunday, team officials said.

On Friday, meanwhile, Metro officers responded to gunfire on a corner in Washington, D.C.’s Congress Heights neighborhood and discovered several victims, according to Executive Assistant Chief of Police Ashan Benedict.

Reports said three adult men and two women were taken to area hospitals to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries, while the child was also taken to a hospital and later pronounced dead.

“Our thoughts and prayers and condolences go out to the family of that victim and all the victims of tonight’s shooting,” Benedict said while at the scene.

“There is too much gun violence still perpetuated in this city and too many children being harmed, innocent children, by gunfire,” he noted further in an appeal to the public for assistance in finding the perpetrators.

So far this year, 101 people have been killed in D.C., about the same as last year during the same timeframe, the Washington Examiner reported, citing police data.

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Jon Dougherty

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