Four people were shot dead outside a baseball stadium packed with thousands of spectators in the US capital on Saturday, causing the game to come to a screeching halt as fans left.
Police said four people had been shot but there was “no continuing threat,” without clarifying the condition of the gunshot victims.
AFP journalists at the match said some spectators rushed to the exits after hearing a dozen gunshots outside the stadium, while others remained seated at the initial request of the advertiser.
Several bursts of automatic fire could be clearly heard in the stadium in footage of the match posted on social media.
The United States has a long and painful history of deadly gun violence, in the form of a constant daily toll of shootings as well as high-profile mass murders that have targeted schools, workplaces and shopping malls.
Lights from several police cars lit up the street and sirens could be heard as the crowd attending the game between the Washington Nationals and the San Diego Padres were then told to leave the stadium.
Police tweeted that officers were “responding to a shooting … in which two people were shot outside Nationals Park” in the Navy Yard neighborhood in southern Washington, DC.
“This is currently an active investigation and it appears that there is no ongoing threat at the moment,” he added.
Shortly after, the department tweeted that “two other victims associated with this incident went to area hospitals to treat gunshot wounds.”
The Washington Post quoted police as saying that two of the injured had non-life threatening injuries, with a man shot in the leg and a woman shot in the back.
The condition of the other two people who presented to the hospital was not known.
An intersection near the gate to third base where the shooting took place has been cordoned off by police.
Minutes after the incident, the official Washington Nationals account tweeted that “a shootout was reported outside Nationals Park Base Third Gate” and urged fans to leave the stadium.
The players had made their way to the dugouts after the shots rang out and the game was suspended at the bottom of the 6th inning with the Padres leading by eight points to four.
There have been just over 100 homicides in Washington this year, many involving guns.
Police offered a $ 60,000 reward on Saturday after a six-year-old girl was shot dead the day before while riding a scooter in southeast Washington.
© 2021 AFP