Shooting Outside Nationals Ballpark in Washington Halts Game


Three people were shot outside Nationals Park in Washington on Saturday night during a baseball game between the Washington Nationals and the San Diego Padres, the police said, prompting fans to pour out of the stands and players to scramble relatives to safety in a scene of fear and confusion.

Three people were treated for gunshot wounds that were not life-threatening after a shootout between people in two vehicles, the police said. Among the injured, the authorities said, was a bystander, a woman who had been attending the game.

Investigators said on Sunday that they were searching for a gray Toyota Corolla with a missing hubcap on the rear driver’s side wheel and tinted windows. The car, which was shown in security camera footage from the area, was believed to have a temporary Virginia tag, the authorities said.

The game was halted in the middle of the sixth inning, with the Padres leading, 8-4. Nationals officials said the game would resume on Sunday afternoon, and that the teams would play their regularly scheduled game afterward on Sunday.

The Nationals canceled their postgame news conference with players and the team’s manager.

Officials said later that there had been no threat to anyone inside the stadium.

“At no time during this incident were individuals inside the stadium attending the game in any type of danger,” said Ashan M. Benedict, the Metropolitan Police Department’s executive assistant police chief. “This was not an active shooter incident.”

Chief Benedict said the vehicles involved in the shooting had been driven away from the stadium. The police found one of them, and two people who had been in the vehicle were being interviewed at a hospital, he said. The bystander who was shot was expected to recover, the authorities said.

The police had initially said that four people were shot, but later revised the total to three.

Fans at the game said they heard what sounded like gunshots coming from the third-base side of the park. Many were initially confused, and the players left the field. Many fans started trying to leave.

An announcement on the stadium loudspeaker said: “Please remain calm and remain inside the stadium.”

Scott Fear, a vice president of public safety and security for the Nationals, said at a news conference on Saturday night that people inside the ballpark were instructed to shelter in place for 10 to 15 minutes before being allowed to leave through the center-field and right-field gates.

“There was never anyone inside the stadium with a weapon,” he said.

Jacob DeAngeles, 25, said he had been sitting with his girlfriend and a friend in Section 106 near the foul pole on the left-field side when people started running up the stairs and he heard someone yell: “Active shooter.”

“We initially thought it was inside the stadium,” he said. “It was pure panic right away.”

Some people crouched under their seats, while Mr. DeAngeles said he jumped the turnstiles with his friend and girlfriend and then made it onto the street and back home, as police cars converged on the area.

“It’s just wild,” he said. “You don’t think you will be in that experience, but you hear ‘active shooter’ and just run.”

Nick Butler, 28, said he had been sitting in the stands beyond center field and had been watching the weather, wondering if the game would be rained out. When he saw fans behind home plate sprinting, he assumed the rain had arrived, but then he noticed that some were ducking and that the players were not in the dugouts.

Mr. Butler said he leapt up from his seat and headed to the center field concourse, looking for an exit, turned a corner and was told by a staff member that he could not leave that way. Then he saw “a stampede of people running in our direction.”

That’s when he realized that “something’s happening here,” he said.

He said he turned, ran and found his way into what he described as a Nationals operations center, where he ducked under tables and waited until a public announcement made it clear that fans could leave.

“I am comforted in some way that we were never really in danger,” he said.

After fans poured out of the ballpark, the platform at the Navy Yard Metro station was crowded, as it typically is after a game, but the fans were quieter than usual, with many people sharing their recollections of what they had heard.

On Twitter on Sunday, the Nationals commended the team’s fans for maintaining their composure during the emergency.

When play resumes at the ballpark — for the completion of the game that was halted and the regularly scheduled game — security measures will be increased, Chris Geldart, Washington’s deputy mayor for public safety and justice, said at the news conference on Saturday night.

“This was an isolated incident that happened outside the ballpark,” he said.

Reporting was contributed by Amy Fiscus, Austin Ramzy, David Waldstein and Neil Vigdor.



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