WASHINGTON, DC (AP) — As gunfire began to ring across National Parks, San Diego Padres pitch star Fernando Tatis Jr quickly thought of team members and friends on the couch.
Tatis started off the bench down the left-hand end of the field on Saturday night, helping open a gate into the stands and beginning to send a team back to the mines for shelter.
“Our families, loved ones, little children. Felt like I needed someone to go get them,” Tatis said Sunday. “I feel the safest place is the clubhouse and we’re trying to get the family into a safe place.”
The first half of the sixth inning of the game between Padres and Citizens of Washington had just ended in front of some 33,000 fans when several gunshots rang out from an incident that occurred on South Capitol Street, just outside the stadium’s third grounds.
But at the moment, no one knows if the quick shot was from inside the field or beyond.
Padres coach Jayce Tingler was on his way to meet umpire Jordan Baker about the pitcher change in a game where San Diego had led 8-4 and was suspended at the time.
“He was like, ‘Did you hear that?’ ‘Tingler recalled Baker’s quote. “I’m like, ‘yes, I think so’ and it’s like what it could possibly be and obviously it’s just a nightmare.”
A scene of chaos quickly developed. As the Padres cleared the pitch, some fans rushed off the pitch while others crouched down and tried to hide.
“Everybody is running. It was crazy. You cannot understand what is going on. If it’s one or two people,” Tatis said. “I’m just trying to get to the safest place and take our family.”
Tatis and teammates Manny Machado and Wil Myers drew praise for helping guide – and even get – fans out of harm’s way.
“The situation changed immediately,” Tatis said. “No more players, no fans. I feel like everyone is just human, human beings trying to be safe. “
The match was paused after that and finished on Sunday, with the Padres winning 10-4. Teams were then set up to play games on a regular schedule.
According to Ashan Benedict, assistant police chief of the Metropolitan Police Department, the shooting between people in two cars left three people injured.
One of those shot was a woman who was attending the match and who was attacked while she was outside the stadium, he said on Saturday night. Her injuries are not considered life-threatening.
Two people in one of the cars later entered a local hospital with gunshot wounds and are being questioned by investigators, Benedict said, and the extent of their injuries was not immediately clear. ie.
Investigators are still trying to locate the second vehicle involved in the shooting.
As the shots rang out, Nationals coach Davey Martinez was making sure his players were safe.
“Then I started worrying about their families and trying to do the best I could to get them to the players,” Martinez said. “And I also started to worry about the fans.”
Seeing the reaction in the third section of the stadium, fans in the first section also started running from their seats. Some of them went to the fields.
“There were a lot of fans, they were in our vault and I wanted to keep them safe too,” Martinez said. “We got them in through the tunnel and got them safe and tried to keep them safe. For me, it’s just about protecting our people and doing the best we can to stay calm. “
Like Tingler, Martinez was emotional as he recounted the events of the night before.
Minutes after the gunshots, a notice appeared on the National Parks scoreboard saying the incident happened outside the park and fans should stay inside. About 10 minutes later, fans were instructed to leave the center field and the right gate.
“We started getting news that everything was happening right outside the stadium,” Tingler said. “That’s when we started to feel a little better. You never feel great.”