- Associated Press - Saturday, July 17, 2021

The game between the San Diego Padres and Washington was suspended in the sixth inning Saturday night after police said there was a shooting outside Nationals Park.

The shooting, an exchange of gunfire between people in two cars, left three people injured, according to Ashan Benedict, the Metropolitan Police Department’s executive assistant police chief. One of the people who was shot was a woman who was attending the game and who was struck while she was outside the stadium, he said. Her injuries weren’t considered life-threatening.

Two people who were in one of the cars later walked into a local hospital with gunshot wounds and were being questioned by investigators, Benedict said, and the extent of their injuries wasn’t immediately clear. Investigators were still trying to locate the second vehicle involved in the shooting.

The gunshots caused panic among fans inside the stadium, some of whom ducked for cover, hiding underneath tables and behind seats as announcers warned people to stay inside the park.

The Padres led 8-4 when the game was halted. It will be resumed Sunday afternoon, followed by the regularly scheduled game.

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 noticed what appeared to be a commotion above the Padres dugout on the third-base side of the ballpark just as the San Diego team was taking the field for the bottom of the sixth inning. Several said they heard what a pair of sustained volleys spaced a few seconds apart.

Some remained in their seats but a large number of fans immediately began hustling up the aisles of the stadium’s lower bowl.

The Padres players quickly retreated to their dugout, as did some fans, looking for safety as sirens wailed outside the park.

The field was cleared of players and umpires in under two minutes, even though it was not clear what had happened. Some fans near where the shooting sounds originated could be seen crouching down beside their seats and looking toward the entrance to the section above the third-base dugout.

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

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.”

As fans on the first-base side reached the concourse, a security officer steered them away from going toward where the original gunshots were heard. Within minutes, a growing number of agitated fans were streaming toward the stairs at the stadium exit near right field, some crying as they moved along.

At one of the apartment complexes across the street, residents held open the door for a mixed group of Nats and Padre fans to take shelter, many staying for an hour or more in the building’s residents’ lounge as they tried to get news of what had happened and watched the intense police and ambulance activity along South Capitol Street.

The game was quickly halted and a fireworks display that was supposed to take place afterward was canceled.

By 11 p.m., small groups of fans were still walking around the perimeter of the stadium, and a large crowd had reassembled at a bar across from the stadium entrance to drink and watch the final minutes of the NBA basketball game on TV.

David Sands contributed to this report.

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