Saturday night’s MLB game between the San Diego Padres and Washington Nationals erupted into chaos after gunshots rang out during the sixth inning. Players and fans fled for safety amidst the horrifying scene.
Footage of the incident quickly spread on social media with the Nationals’ Twitter account confirming gunshots outside the stadium. Players and fans could be seen running for cover.
“Something crazy going on at Nationals Park,” Boston Globe sportswriter Ben Volin tweeted. “Players just sprinted off the field and fans running from the stands.”
At a news conference late Saturday, D.C. Metropolitan Police confirmed that three people were struck by gunfire outside the stadium after initial reports said four people had been struck. None of those wounded suffered life-threatening injuries according to a police source.
The identities of those wounded have remained unclear.
Police believe the incident was a confrontation between occupants of two vehicles that were traveling near the stadium, FOX 5 of Washington reported. Police also stressed that no gunfire occurred inside the stadium.
Here at Nats Park as fans are making their way out of the stadium.
Talked to a fan who said the spectators in section 112-113 ducked down when they heard gunshots and everyone followed suit. Tatis and Machado opened the gate to the field and took fans to the dugout. pic.twitter.com/HM70l0tgDQ
— Andrew Golden (@andrewcgolden) July 18, 2021
The stadium was not evacuated. Instead, fans were asked to shelter in place as police investigated, FOX 5 reported. Investigators were reviewing all available security-camera footage and other evidence to glean more details about what happened, the station reported.
Firetrucks and ambulance driving north on South Capitol outside Nationals Park. Police cars swarming a few blocks up as well. pic.twitter.com/efNjPRtJKm
— Sam Fortier (@Sam4TR) July 18, 2021
The area near the stadium has seen a spike in gun violence recently, the police source said. Recent incidents have included an Uber driver being carjacked and killed by teenage suspects.
Nationals Park is located less than 2 miles south of the U.S. Capitol, in Washington’s Southwest Waterfront area. It opened in March 2008, three years after the Nationals arrived in the city after moving there from Montreal, where they were known as the Expos for more than 30 years.
Both Nationals Park and nearby Audi Field, which opened in 2018 as the home of soccer’s D.C. United, were built in the area as part of efforts to revive that part of the city.