Players and fans are describing in more detail the terrifying scene and chaos that followed a shooting outside of the third base gate at Nationals Park on Saturday night.
Three people were injured in the shooting, DC Police said after initially reporting four were shot. One was a fan who is expected to recover, police said via CNN. The game between the Washington Nationals and San Diego Padres was suspended and set to resume Sunday afternoon before the final game of the series.
Seconds after the final out of the top of the sixth inning, gun shots could be heard in the stadium and were partially audible on the telecast. The field remained clear while fans, unsure what had happened, could be seen fleeing out of the right-field gates.
No one knew details at first, creating a chaotic scene as concerned fans, players and journalists attempted to flee or scramble for cover.
Nationals packed fans 'like sardines' into dugout
Nationals players helped fans near them take cover by opening the dugout gates to them. Manager Dave Martinez said Sunday they packed fans into the area "like sardines."
A fan told the Washington Post her group ended up in the clubhouse near Martinez's office, where he was "there, checking on everyone."
“A security guard came and asked if we were family. He said, ‘Yes, they are family — they’re our fans,'" the fan, Ann Plaza, told the Post. "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.”
He explained it further Sunday morning, via Jessica Camerato of MLB.com:
"For me, they're family. They're our fans. They sweat just like the players do, just like I do. They're here for us ... It was a reactionary thing. There wasn't really much — I just wanted to make sure that everybody was safe."
Martinez teared up when asked what his message would be for people rattled by recent shootings in the District.
#Nationals manager Dave Martinez says evacuating fans were packed in the home dugout “like sardines,” expresses thanks for those handling the situation.
“I love this city. This city is my home. It can get crazy. I do know that in this ballpark, I feel safe as ever.”
— Gabe Lacques (@GabeLacques) July 18, 2021
Padres' Tatis runs to get fans from third base side
Fernando Tatis Jr., 22, was one of the Padres players who helped fans pack into the dugout. After hearing the gunshots outside their gate, he said instincts took over and he sprinted down the third baseline to bring people back to the visiting dugout. He told reporters Sunday he was trying to protect his teammates' families, which he considers part of his own family.
"There were little kids," he said, per Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune. "I felt like somebody needed to go get them."
Martinez and the Nationals thanks those who attended the game for handling themselves in a "very admirable manner" in a tweet on Sunday morning.
Davey Martinez said it best—our fans are our family.
Thank you. pic.twitter.com/V6BJZPmQdr
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 18, 2021
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