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3 people shot, Nationals fans flee for safety after gunfire erupts outside park

The game against the Padres was suspended after what police describe as a shootout near the third base gate.
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Fans at a baseball game at National Park in Washington scrambled for safety Saturday night after gunfire erupted outside the venue.

The Metro Police Department Police said three people, including a bystander who was attending the game, were shot outside the park. The department initially said there were four victims.

The game was suspended and rescheduled for Sunday.

Executive Assistant Chief Ashan M. Benedict described the violence as a shootout between people in two vehicles just outside the ball park.

The game attendee struck by gunfire was "expected to be OK," he said at a news conference late Saturday night.

Two people in one vehicle were discovered later at a hospital, Benedict said. "They are known to law enforcement," he said.

That vehicle was being processed for clues, he said. The other vehicle was not found.

Authorities said there was no ongoing threat to the public, and the attack was not related to the game.

The sound of gunfire appeared to rock the park as the San Diego Padres led the Nationals 8-4 before the seventh inning. Fans started streaming out of the park and in some cases toward danger. Some took refuge in the bull pens of both teams.

A park announcer calmly told fans to stay put, but the exodus seemed unstoppable.

At one point, a park announcer said, "You may now exit the stadium calmly." The venue also announced on a digital billboard that a shooting had taken place outside.

The Twitter account of Subhan Cheema, a member of the White House Covid-19 response team, criticized the venue for staying silent as people streamed out.

"It took way too long for you to combvmunicate what fans should do," he said. "Lots of commotion. No announcement for an extended period of time. I was 1 of the 1000s who ran *in the exact direction* of where you’re now saying the shooting took place. Because security told me to."

Later in the evening Padres star Fernando Tatis, Jr. tweeted, "Hope everyone is safe!"

On Sunday, the game resumed without and the Padres won 10-4.

The violence came amid a rise in gun violence across the U.S. this year. Shootings with multiple victims took place over the weekend, in Portland, Oregon; Sacramento, California; and Washington, D.C.

Image: San Diego Padres at Washington Nationals
Fans take cover after gun shots were heard during the game between the Washington Nationals and the San Diego Padres on Saturday at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.Brad Mills / Reuters

In the Washington attack, a 6-year-old girl was killed late Friday in a shooting that also injured three men and two women, police said.

"There's too much gun violence still perpetuated in this city, and too many children are being harmed," Ashan Benedict, the Metropolitan Police Department's executive assistant chief, said from the crime scene overnight.

The nation's violence prompted President Joe Biden on Monday to urge communities to use $350 billion in state funding included in the Covid-19 relief plan to hire officers and pay for crime prevention.

"We recognize that we have to come together to fulfill the first responsibility of a democracy and to keep each other safe," he said.