Washington Nationals

Nationals' Manager, Padres Players Helped Fans Flee After Shooting

“There’s no longer players, fans. I feel like everybody’s just people, human beings trying to be secure.”

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Washington Nationals Manager Davey Martinez helped fans take cover as gunshots rang out Saturday just outside the ballpark, wounding three people and prompting the suspension of the game during the sixth inning. 

San Diego Padres players Manny Machado, Wil Myers and Fernando Tatis Jr., drew praise for helping guide — and even carry — fans out of harm’s way.

Fighting tears at one point, Martinez spoke at a pre-game news conference Sunday about the scary scene at Nationals Park Saturday night. He described guiding Nats’ players’ families and then fans into the dugout.

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“My job was to get the players safe, first and foremost, get everybody off the field, and then I started worrying about their families and tried as best I could to get them down to the players as quickly as we possibly can. Then also I started working on the fans as well,” he said. “... They were smashing in our dugout, and I wanted to get them safe as well. I thought it was important to get them in. We got them to the tunnel. We got them in safely."

“For me it was just about protecting our people, our own, and I tried to do the best I could to stay calm,” Martinez continued. 

One woman attending the game and two men involved in the shooting were wounded when people in two cars exchanged gunfire at about 9:30 p.m. at South Capitol and O streets SW, just west of the ballpark. The shots echoed through the stadium and caused panic. Many ducked for cover in dugouts, behind seats and in bathrooms. 

In the moment, no one knew whether the rapid series of shots was coming from inside the ballpark or beyond.

Fans ducked for cover after hearing gunfire ring out just steps away from Nationals Park. News4's Darcy Spencer reports.

When the gunshots started to echo all around Nats Park, Tatis quickly thought about the team's family members and friends in the seats. He bolted from the bench down the left field line, helped open a gate to the stands and began ushering a group back to the dugout to shelter.

“Our family, loved ones, little kids. Feel like somebody needed to go get them,” Tatis said Sunday. “I feel like the safest place was the clubhouse and we were trying to get our families into a safe place.”

Padres manager Jayce Tingler was on his way to see plate umpire Jordan Baker about a pitching change in a game San Diego led 8-4.

“He’s like, ‘Did you hear that?’'' Tingler recalled Baker saying. “I’m like, ‘yeah, I think so’ and it kind of registered what it possibly could have been and obviously it was just a nightmare.”

A chaotic scene quickly developed. As the Padres cleared the field, some fans rushed to leave the stadium while others ducked and tried to hide, looking for cover.

“Everybody running. It was crazy. You couldn’t figure out what was going on. If it was one or two people,” Tatis said. “I was just trying to get to the safest place and get our families.”

“The situation changed immediately,” Tatis said. “There’s no longer players, fans. I feel like everybody’s just people, human beings trying to be secure.”

Martinez grew emotional on Sunday as he spoke about his love for D.C. 

“I love this city. This city’s my home. It can get crazy. We all know that. We all want to feel safe. I can tell you that inside this ballpark we feel safer than ever. We care about each other. We really do. We don’t want anybody getting hurt,” he said. 

The game suspended on Saturday resumed Sunday afternoon. The regularly scheduled game was set to follow within 45 minutes. Tickets and parking passes for the regularly scheduled game can be used for admission to both games. 

Martinez offered his prayers to the baseball fan who was shot. He said he and his players felt calm Sunday and were ready to play. 

“They want to get back to some kind of normalcy today and play baseball. That’s why we’re all there,” he said. 

Stay with NBC Washington for more details on this developing story. 

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