Washington Nationals Game Descends Into Chaos After Nearby Shooting

Fans rush to evacuate after hearing during a game between a the San Diego Padres and the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., on July 17. Photo: John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Saturday night’s Washington Nationals home game against the San Diego Padres in the nation’s capital became a horrifying scene of chaos and confusion after a shooting outside the ballpark sent fans and players running for cover. Three people were reportedly shot, including a fan outside the stadium, but none suffered life-threatening injuries.

The Padres had taken the field for the bottom of the sixth inning around 9:30 p.m. when multiple gunshots were heard coming from the left-field side of Nationals Park. The shooting reportedly occurred on South Capitol Street near the Third Base Gate, where people in two cars exchanged gunfire, according to D.C. Police. One bystander, a woman who was attending the Nationals game, was grazed on the back by a bullet. Two other people in one of the cars were also shot, and later walked into local hospitals. It’s not clear how many suspects there were; police located one of the two cars and are still looking for the second as of late Saturday night.

At least seven shots could be heard on the live television broadcast of the game:

Confusion, terror, and panic immediately followed inside the ballpark. As the game was halted and the players pulled off the field, fans rushed for cover — some running to flee the stadium, while others scrambled to hide behind seats, on the ground, or inside bathrooms.

Some players could be seen pulling family members from the stands and into the dugout and clubhouse. They helped some nearby fans take cover there, as well.

Per the Washington Post:

Padres players [Fernando Tatis Jr], Manny Machado and Wil Myers pulled family members and fans out of the stands to find safety in their dugout, where at least 50 people gathered, [a fan at the game] said.

Ann Plaza, a fan from McLean, said her group went on the field and through the Nationals’ dugout before ending up in the clubhouse near manager Dave Martinez’s office. “He was there checking on everyone,” Plaza said of Martinez. “A security guard came and asked if we were family. He said ‘Yes, they are family — they’re our fans.’ The guard then asked if we were players’ family and then he said no. They then ushered us into the area right outside and we hung out there until it was safe to leave.”

“Our family, loved ones, little kids. Feel like somebody needed to go get them,” Tatis told reporters on Sunday. “I feel like the safest place was the clubhouse and we were trying to get our families into a safe place.”

“The situation changed immediately,” he added, about helping fans take cover too. “There’s no longer players, fans. I feel like everybody’s just people, human beings trying to be secure.”

Five minutes after the shots were heard, the public-address announcer informed fans that the shooting was outside the stadium and asked them to “please remain calm and remain inside the stadium” while authorities handled the situation.

Some fans reacted by rushing onto the field to try to take cover in the dugouts, instead.

Eventually, about 15 minutes after the shooting, everyone was told it was safe to leave and asked to exit the stadium from the center- and right-field gates — and the ballpark was emptied about 45 minutes after the shooting. The game was officially postponed and finished on Sunday. The Padres won 10-4.

This post has been updated throughout.


Shooting Sends Washington Nationals Game Into Chaos