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Conyers man falls from upper deck to death at Braves game

10:06 AM, Aug 13, 2013   |    comments
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ATLANTA, Ga. -- A man death after falling from an upper deck platform at Turner Field on Monday evening.

According to Atlanta Police, 29-year-old Ronald Homer of Conyers plunged about 65 feet to a private parking lot shortly after 9:00 near the start of the Braves game with the Philadelphia Phillies, which had been delayed 1 hour 48 minutes by rain.

Homer fell over an upper deck railing and landed at the back side of the ball park.

The Braves issued a statement, saying:

There was an accident earlier tonight at Turner Field with a spectator falling from the upper level. The spectator has been transported to the hospital. The Atlanta Police Department are investigating and we refer all media inquiries to them at this time.

Homer was transported to Atlanta Medical Center where he later died from injuries sustained during the fall.

Tuesday morning, Homer's mother Connie talked to WXIA over the phone.

"He's six feet, six inches tall. That would have been a little bitty fence," Connie said in reacting to her son's fall over a railing at Turner Field on Monday night. "I wouldn't be surprised if he was leaning over looking at the cars in the players' parking lot."

She said she doubts her son was intoxicated.

"He might have had one or two beers but no more than that," she added. "He was tight with his money. He's a good guy."

Ms. Homer said her son was a big Braves fans who enjoyed following the team with his father. She said he attended Monday's game with a buddy.

Ronald Homer graduated from Rockdale County High School in 2001 in the top ten of his class, his mom said. He was one of two children. His sister lives in Missouri.

"I'm just sick," Ms. Homer said. "We're a very close family. He was big-hearted."

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.

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.

Atlanta police say it was an accident and suspect no foul play. They have yet to find out how and why Homer fell. The Medical Examiner will perform an autopsy Tuesday morning at 9:30.


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