Braves Fan Death: Ronald Homer dies after fall from Turner Field upper deck

8:24 AM, Aug 13, 2013   |    comments
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Atlanta (USA TODAY) -- A man fell approximately 65 feet from a stairwell at Turner Field Monday night to a concrete walkway leading to the Braves' players parking lot and died.

The Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office identified the man as Ronald Homer, 29, of Conyers, Ga.

The Atlanta Police Department said Homer was transported to Atlanta Medical Center after the incident, which occurred around 9 p.m. ET near the start of the Braves game with the Philadelphia Phillies, which had been delayed 1 hour 48 minutes by rain.

The APD released a statement on the incident early Tuesday morning:

"On Aug. 12, 2013 around 8:55 p.m. officers responded to a person down call at Turner Field. Upon arrival officers located a male who appeared to have fallen from an upper level platform to a secured lot approximately 65 feet below. The male was transported to Atlanta Medical Center and died from his injuries. At this time there is no indication of foul play and the fall appears accidental. The victim's identity has not been released."

MORE COVERAGE: WXIA-TV in Atlanta

Mary Beth Hauptle, an investigator for the medical examiner's office, said Homer died moments after arriving at Atlanta Medical Center by ambulance. He was pronounced dead at 9:26 p.m. Hauptle said there has been no autopsy done.

Matthew Cox, an Auburn University student, said a worker told him he had seen the man standing alone at the black iron railing inside the stairwell and the next moment the man was falling to the ground.

Cox said another worker said to him, "That guy just jumped over."

The stairwell is across from the concession stand at Section 413 and overlooks the walkway the Braves players use to walk to and from their cars in a gated parking lot. The area on the ground, a brushed concrete, was cordoned off with yellow crime tape.

One hour after the accident, a Coca-Cola vending cart had been pushed onto the landing where the man had been standing. The stairwell leads directly down to the players' parking lot.

Cox said workers, who were gathered on the upper deck after the incident, said they heard the man had been running from security.

"That's not true, that is not a factual statement," said Captain Paul Guerrucci of the Atlanta Police Department when asked whether the man was being pursued.

Guerrucci, a veteran investigator, who works homicides, provided no other details of the incident. He said the case was now being handled by the medical examiner.

In a statement, Atlanta Police Department said the death was being treated as accidental.

Police routinely patrol the concourses at Turner Field in a visible presence before, during and after games. There is also a police precinct on the service level of the field not far from the entrance to the Braves' clubhouse.

Not only do Braves' security officers stand guard on the field, but they cover every exit on different levels of the 50,000-seat stadium.

One man, who was in the Braves' players parking lot, said television crew heard the sound of the impact 100 yards away. He said first responders were doing chest compressions on the man as they wheeled him on a stretcher toward an ambulance.

The Braves referred all questions to the Atlanta Police Department.

Monday's accident wasn't the first of its kind to happen at Turner Field, and marked at least the third time a sports fan has fallen from the stands in Atlanta in about a year.

Isaac Grubb, 20, of Lenoir City, Tenn. died after falling over a railing at the Georgia Dome during a football game between Tennessee and North Carolina State on Aug. 31, 2012. Authorities said he landed on another man seated in the lower level, and that alcohol was a factor.

A man fell about 25 feet over a staircase railing at a Georgia Tech-Miami football game on Sept. 22, 2012 and was not seriously injured.

In May 2008, a 25-year-old Cumming, Ga. man suffered head injuries when he fell down a stairwell at Turner Field during a game against the New York Mets and later died. Police found that alcohol had factored into that accident, which the Braves said was the first non-medical fatality to happen at the ballpark.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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