Washington, DC – Chaos erupted in Nationals Park after gunfire outside the Third Base Gate echoed through the stadium during the Washington Nationals game against the San Diego Padres on Saturday evening.
The incident occurred at about 9:30 p.m. on July 17, prior to the start of the bottom of the sixth inning, CBS News reported.
Police said that a “shootout” occurred between two cars just outside one of the gates into Nationals Park.
But the fans and players inside the stadium said it sounded like an active shooter was firing inside the baseball park, CBS News reported.
Fans – more than 33,000 of whom were in attendance when the shots rang out – ducked for cover or tried to flee the stands, and some players retreated into the clubhouses and dugouts, WTOP reported.
“We heard what sounded like gunfire,” witness David Brown, who was sitting on the side of the stadium nearest to where the gunfight erupted, told CBS News.
“Fans immediately took cover. The players fled the field. It felt like our stadium was under attack,” Brown said.
There was total confusion in the park and then an announcement was made asking people not to leave the stadium, CBS News reported.
Here is the footage of Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Wil Myers helping fans when in fear (of the shooting at Nationals Park). pic.twitter.com/9ApuHIs4Oy
— Dan Clark (@DanClarkSports) July 18, 2021
— Alaina (@alaina1424) July 18, 2021
Fans running for the outfield exit after a sound that could have been gunshots. pic.twitter.com/G8YXhfVhk8
— Kris Van Cleave (@krisvancleave) July 18, 2021
Frightened Nationals fans took cover at the report of what *sounded like* shots at Nats ballpark. But staff are telling us the incident was outside the stadium, and they’re keeping everyone inside. People hid behind bar, toppled tables to hide. pic.twitter.com/bCAP2V3qyu
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) July 18, 2021
About 15 minutes later, the game was postponed and fans were asked to exit through the two gates that were not involved in the shooting investigation, CBS News reported.
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.
We're working with law enforcement to provide more information as soon as it becomes available.
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 18, 2021
Hope everyone is safe at Nationals park. I heard a few loud bangs and then a mass exodus. View from my roof pic.twitter.com/MA1B7z83u2
— Jalen Drummond (@jalen_drummond) July 18, 2021
Metropolitan Police Department Executive Assistant Chief Ashan Benedict said two of the people from one of the vehicles involved in the gunfight showed up at a local hospital seeking treatment for their wounds, WTOP reported.
A third person sustained a graze wound when she left the game and exited the stadium gate just as the shootout began.
All three people sustained non-life-threatening wounds, WTOP reported.
Chief Benedict said one of the vehicles involved in the gunfight had been recovered but the second – a gray Toyota Corolla – fled the scene going south on South Capitol Street, SE.
Police released pictures of the suspect vehicle and asked for the public’s help to identify it and the driver, WTOP reported.
MPD seeks a vehicle in an Assault with a Dangerous Weapon (Gun) offense that occurred last night, 7/18/21, in the 2600 blk of Wade Rd, SE.
Have info? Call (202) 727-9099/text 50411
— DC Police Department (@DCPoliceDept) July 19, 2021
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Washington Nationals management team put out a joint statement to make sure that fans knew that the shooting had nothing whatsoever to do with Major League Baseball (MLB) or the Nationals.
Joint Statement by the District of Columbia and the Washington Nationals pic.twitter.com/GyAzMFjd62
— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) July 18, 2021
Police said the investigation was ongoing, WTOP reported.