Fans duck under seats, scramble for exits after shooting halts Padres-Washington baseball game

National News

WASHINGTON (AP) – The game between the San Diego Padres and Washington was halted in the sixth inning Saturday night after the Nationals said a shooting happened outside the stadium.

Two people were shot, according to police. Investigators believe, based on preliminary information, that one of the victims was an employee at the stadium, said Dustin Sternbeck, a Metropolitan Police Department spokesman.

Washington police later tweeted that “two additional victims associated with this incident walked into area hospitals for treatment of gunshot wounds.”

The Padres had just taken the field for the bottom of the sixth when several loud pops were heard from the left field side of the ballpark.

Fans sitting in left field quickly began leaving through the center field gate. A short time later, fans along the first base side began briskly leaving their seats. Some fans crowded into the Padres’ dugout on the third base side for safety as sirens could be heard from outside the park.

In the stadium’s Diamond Club, where a man said he and his friends were, people were hiding under tables and chairs, thinking there was a shooter inside the stadium.

The Nationals then announced there had been an incident was outside the stadium and posted a message on the scoreboard telling fans to remain inside the stadium.

About 10 minutes later, the team tweeted: “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.”

The shooting outside the ballpark came on the heels of the killing of a 6-year-old girl and wounding of five others when a gunman opened fire Friday night in a Washington, D.C., neighborhood, just feet from where police officers were stationed.

The gunfire erupted shortly after 11 p.m. on Friday in the Congress Heights section of southeast Washington.

Police officers who were nearby responded to the scene about 34 seconds after the first gunshot was heard and rushed the girl to a local hospital in a police car, where she was pronounced dead, Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert Contee said.

Police identified the girl as Nyiah Courtney. Three men and two women suffered nonlife-threatening gunshot wounds.

“We will do whatever it takes to close this case in a swift and professional manner,” Contee said at a news conference on Saturday.

Officials believe the gunshots – in what Contee called a “brazen” shooting – came from a passing vehicle. Police were expected to release video of the vehicle later Saturday and were offering a reward of up to $60,000 for information that leads to an arrest in the case.

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