Three Shot Outside Nationals Ballpark, Stops Padres vs. Nationals Game

Gunshots halt game between the Nationals and Padres in 6th inning in terrifying situation

Three people were shot and wounded outside Nationals Park in Washington D.C. during a game between the Nationals and Padres Saturday night, D.C. police said.

In the bottom of the 6th inning, several gunshots rang out in the 1500 block of South Capitol Street, SW, near the third base gate, D.C. police said.

Fans at the packed stadium started running for cover, some tipping over tables to create a place to hide. Padres players ran up into the stands to grab family members and friends, taking them onto the field, through the dugout and into the clubhouse.

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 17: Jurickson Profar #10 of the San Diego Padres runs off the field with family after what was believed to be shots were heard during a baseball game between the San Diego Padres and the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on July 17, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

The Public Address announcer eventually got on the microphone and asked people to stay inside the ballpark, "for their safety." After several minutes the PA announcer said people could leave through the center and right field gates.

Initially, D.C. police officials reported four people who had been shot and received treatment.

In a press conference Saturday night, D.C. police officials updated the number of victims to three.

Executive Assistant Chief of Police with the Metropolitan Police Department, Sean Benedict, said in the press conference two people were involved in the shooting, and one was a bystander who was attending the game but was outside of the stadium.

Investigations have led officials to believe two cars were involved in a shootout, engaging each other in gunfire, Benedict said.

The bystander who was attending the game but outside the stadium was struck by gunfire, Benedict reported. The bystander was injured, but is in a non-life threatening condition.

The other two shooting victims were men involved in the gunfire, Benedict said. Police were questioning them as they were in stable condition. Police recovered one vehicle involved in the shooting; the other is still sought. A surveillance image from police shows a gray Toyota Corolla with a hubcap missing from the rear driver’s side, temporary Virginia plates and dark tinted windows.

According to Senior Law Enforcement Official Briefed Jonathan Dienst, the shooting is believed to be criminal in nature, but not connected to the game.  

The investigation is preliminary and ongoing.    

Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., one of the players who helped family and fans take cover, said in a tweet, "Hope everyone is safe! Just keep the prayers up."

Regarding the incident, California Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted, "This is what 'getting back to normal' in America means after a pandemic."

The Washington Nationals announced the game was suspended and would continue on Sunday at 1:05 pm at Nationals Park (10:05 am San Diego time), then be followed by the regularly scheduled series finale.

The Padres beat the Nationals 10-4 in Sunday morning's resumed game.

Fan Reaction

NBC 7's Kelvin Henry spoke with Padres fans about the incident, and how they feel about attending future games at Petco Park.

"I feel comfortable, I feel real comfortable especially going to the Padres and also to the Dodgers games I feel comfortable," Padres fan Terry Hinkle told NBC 7.

"We never had any issues at any games and I feel like unfortunately these sort of things happens and it’s unfortunate it happened right outside of the stadium," Padres fan Simon Larsson said.

"When I’m at a sporting event I feel completely safe," Jessica Larsson, Padres fan, said. "I’d be scared for sure, but would listen to the direction of the officials in the stadium on what to do."

San Diego Padres Manager Jayce Tingler said he's a proud manager. "I couldn’t be anymore proud to be a Padre…to be with the men in there. Seeing Fans and seeing people in panic they did the right thing."

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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