Saturday, the Dodgers issued a statement about Friday’s events.
“Last night, an altercation occurred suddenly between two men who were leaving the stadium,” the Dodgers said in a statement Saturday, according to ESPN. “One of the men was injured as a result of the altercation. A witness immediately reported the incident to stadium personnel, and emergency medical technicians were promptly dispatched to provide medical assistance at the scene. The matter is now being investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department, and the Dodgers are cooperating fully with the investigation.”
The man, identified as Rafael Reyna, is in the hospital after suffering a fractured skull among other injuries.
Rafael’s wife, Christel, told KABC-TV that she was on the phone with her husband when she heard Rafael get into an argument with a man and a woman behind him.
A fight at a Dodger Stadium parking lot during Friday night’s game left a 45-year-old man with critical injuries. https://t.co/3nny2Bxg7z
— Action News on 6abc (@6abc) March 31, 2019
Christel Reyna recounted what happened after that.
“I was hearing the arguing happening and then I heard like a smack, a crack. It sounded like a baseball bat, and then I heard him start moaning,” she said.
Christel described her husband’s injuries.
“He was hit and his head hit the ground and caused a skull fracture, and now his brain is swelling. He’s bleeding on the brain,” Christel continued.
Rafael’s children, aged between 11 and 22, now await news on their father’s condition. The oldest child has joined other family members at LAC+USC Medical Center, while the three youngest children, the oldest of whom is 15, had not been immediately informed of their father’s injuries.
“They’re going to go in there and they’re going to see him with tubes coming out of him. That’s not the daddy they know,” Christel said.
KABC-TV notes that Dodger Stadium security and the Los Angeles Police Department are working to try and identify the suspect, who reportedly drove off in a white SUV, possibly a Toyota 4Runner, and the LAPD are hoping to get more information from anyone who possibly saw the incident and its aftermath and can help identify the perpetrator.
Christel Reyna echoed the LAPD’s calls.
“It hurts my heart,” she said. “This isn’t supposed to happen. This isn’t how you’re supposed to live your life.”
Even on television, fans could see that things were getting chippy inside the stadium, with multiple minor incidents springing up throughout the game.
The Dodgers have been plagued by concerns about the safety of the fan experience ever since San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow was nearly beaten to death at a Dodgers-Giants game in Los Angeles in 2011.
Fights happen EVERY TIME i go to a game. It’s sad because I love the @Dodgers, they’re my team, but some of the fans need to watch what they do and say and remember it’s JUST A GAME. This type of negativity is what gives Dodger fans such a bad rep. Positive vibes to the fam? https://t.co/n15vxF7Ly3
— MariaElena Ruiz (@mariiiaelenaaa) March 31, 2019
The safety concerns surrounding Southern California sports are hardly confined to just baseball. During a preseason game in 2018, Raiders and Rams fans let their newfound crosstown rivalry boil over into violence in the stands at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Fans going to sports events in Los Angeles, especially those rooting for the visiting team, would be wise to be mindful of the risks of fan violence.
Meanwhile, anyone reading who may have seen the incident can contact the LAPD Tip Line.
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