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JMU alums reflect on scary night at Nationals Park

The James Madison University softball team was being honored at the Washington Nationals game...
The James Madison University softball team was being honored at the Washington Nationals game on Saturday night when a shooting outside the stadium caused the game to be suspended, there were many JMU students and alumni in attendance when it happened.(WHSV)
Published: Jul. 18, 2021 at 7:48 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - The James Madison University softball team was being honored at the Washington Nationals game on Saturday night when a shooting outside the stadium caused the game to be suspended. There were many JMU students and alumni in attendance when it happened.

“Somebody yelled ‘shooter’ and this mass of humanity started running back down toward you, that’s when you’re like, ‘oh my gosh he’s right up on top here somewhere,’” said Mike Ruckman Jr. a JMU alum who was attending the game with his family.

After the gunshots were fired outside the stadium those in attendance say a mass panic broke out inside the ball park.

“You just started seeing people start to run, duck and run, I think no one really knew exactly what was happening but all of a sudden there was just mass movement and it kind of worked its way around the stadium,” said Jessica Kitta, a JMU alum who was at the game with her husband and son.

There were a lot of Dukes in the crowd, and they say the thousands of people trying to flee created additional danger.

“One of my friends actually was in one of the upper levels, and she said that she ended up getting trampled on and got kind of shoved into a bathroom stall with a random stranger,” Sophia Stone, a JMU graduate student.

As fans evacuated the stadium, they say the scene was quite eerie.

“As we walked up the mezzanine and started walking out I remember seeing shoes where people had basically ran right out of their shoes, flip flops, and even a few pair of tennis shoes were laying around, tables turned over,” said Mike Ruckman.

While no one inside the stadium was harmed in the shooting those there say the scariest part was not knowing what was going to happen. " It was scary there for a minute you’re thinking ‘ok is this it? I battled cancer for eight years and this is the way it’s gonna end?’ The scary part’s not knowing,” said Ruckman.

“It was definitely scary just the unknown, but overall I think the authorities did a good job of trying to get the situation under control as quickly as possible,” said Jessica Kitta.

Police are continuing to investigate the shooting.

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