Fernando Tatis Jr. recalls ‘crazy’ scene amid Nationals Park shooting


One of the lasting images of the shooting outside Nationals Park on Saturday night will be Padres All-Star Fernando Tatis Jr. escorting family members from the stands to the safety of the visiting dugout and the clubhouse.

The game in Washington was suspended in the top of the sixth inning after a round of gunshots was audible inside the stadium from the third-base side outside the ballpark.

Tatis said Sunday that his first instinct was to help his family and friends and other fans find safety in what quickly developed into a chaotic situation.

“Our family, loved ones, little kids. [I] feel like somebody needed to go get them,” Tatis told reporters before Sunday’s resumption of the game, which concluded as a 10-4 Padres victory. “I feel like the safest place was the clubhouse and we were trying to get our families into a safe place.

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

Padres teammates Manny Machado and Wil Myers also aided the fans to safety.

“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.”

Fernando Tatis Jr., Nationals Park shooting
Padres All-Star Fernando Tatis Jr. Addresses Reporters At Nationals Park On July 18, 2021.
Getty Images

San Diego manager Jayce Tingler was headed out of the dugout to inform home plate umpire Jordan Baker of a pitching change.

“He was like, ‘Did you hear that?’″ Tingler said of Baker. “I [said], ‘Yeah, I think so,’ and it kind of registered what it possibly could have been and obviously it was just a nightmare.

“We started to get word that everything happened right outside the stadium. That’s when we started to feel a little bit better. But you never feel great.”

Nationals manager Davey Martinez also concentrated on ensuring the safety of his players and staff, as well as their family members and other fans.

Nationals Park shooting
Fans Rush To Evacuate After Hearing Gunshots Outside Nationals Park During The Nationals-Padres Game On July 17, 2021.
The Washington Post via Getty Im

“I started worrying about their families and trying to do the best I could to get them down to the players. And I started worrying about the fans as well,” Martinez said. “There was a bunch of fans, they were in our dugout and I wanted to get them safe as well.

“We got them in through the tunnel and got them in safely and tried to keep them safe. For me it was just about protecting our people and doing the best I can to stay calm.”

—with AP


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