Fear and chaos at the Padres game in Washington DC Saturday night. “I thought it was a speaker malfunction, but it was a series of very, very, very loud bangs,” said San Diegan Joe O’Brien. Those bangs were gunshots – fired during the 6th inning from somewhere behind O’Brien’s seats on the third base side.
“One of the guards on the field - cause I was sitting pretty close to the field - told everyone to get down,” O’Brien said, adding that several people started running for the exits. O’Brien laid down on the concrete under his seat. “I then texted my mom and told her I was ok... I loved her too... just in case.
At this point, no one knew if the shooters were in the ballpark - or outside. He says people all over the stadium were panicking. “What's ironic enough is that a lot of people who were running out on my side - were running directly into the incident location.”
Umpires also started running for cover. Players too. But then Joe, a diehard Padres fan, saw something that made him even prouder of his home team. “Fernando Tatis Jr. run out of the dugout - grab a bunch of people - he had a lady literally in his arms... brought them into the dugout.”
You can't tell from our Zoom chat, but Joe is wearing a Manny Machado jersey. Manny also ran into the stands to make sure fans were safe. “I already thought really highly of those two, but it really showed in times of crisis what they're made of,” O’Brien said.
It took a while to sort things out, but police discovered the shooting actually took place between two cars right outside the ballpark. Two people in one of those cars were shot - along with an innocent bystander. Her injuries are not considered life-threatening.
As for Joe, well, he was back at the ballpark Sunday to cheer his Padres on. “I'm a San Diegan and I got tickets for all three games... and it's worth it. The Padres are that good and that exciting to watch.”
WATCH: Padres manager, fans react to players' actions amid shooting outside game