ATLANTA — A Conyers man died Monday evening after he fell from the upper level of Turner Field during a Braves-Phillies baseball game.
According to the Atlanta Police Department, Ronald Lee Homer, 29, fell about 65 feet into a secured parking lot. He was taken to Atlanta Medical Center where he died from injuries sustained in the fall.
Police said there was no indication that foul play was involved and the fall was reported to be accidental. Police also said whether or not alcohol was a factor would have to be determined by toxicology tests by the Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office.
The victim's uncle, Robert Homer of Conyers, said Tuesday his nephew was at the game with a friend from college when the accident occurred. He said Ron Homer was an honor graduate of Rockdale County High School and a gifted athlete who played a number of sports and excelled at basketball. He attended Oxford College.
Robert Homer described his nephew as part of a close-knit family that has lived in Rockdale County for seven generations. He said Ron lived with his parents, Ronald Lee and Connie Homer.
Robert Homer said the family was still reeling from the news.
"It's more than a shock, it's hard to stomach. Real hard to stomach," he said.
He questioned the safety of railings at Turner Field, pointed to other recent falls at sports stadiums and said more safety provisions are needed.
According to news reports, Monday night's game was scheduled to start at 7:10 p.m., but rainfall delayed the start time by nearly two hours. The accident occurred during the rain delay.
Atlanta Police reported that four witnesses said they saw Ron Homer fall from the fourth level of the stadium into the players parking lot. "All of the witnesses stated that there (were) no other people around Mr. Homer when he fell," according to the officer's report. "There were no surveillance cameras on scene."
The Braves event emergency medical service was the first to respond to the victim, according to the APD report. They found him unconscious and not breathing. CPR was administered and the victim was taken to Atlanta Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
Connie Homer told WXIA television station in Atlanta that her son was 6 feet, 6 inches tall and may have lost his balance peering into the parking lot on the ground.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he was leaning over looking at the cars in the players’ parking lot,” she said.
She told the TV station she doubted her son was intoxicated.
A Braves spokeswoman did not immediately answer an email question or phone call about what changes, if any, might be implemented to prevent future accidents.
In 2008, 25-year-old Justin Hayes fell to his death at Turner Field during the 8th inning of an Atlanta Braves-New York Mets game. Police said alcohol was a factor when Hayes fell about 60 feet as he was trying to slide down the handrails of a club-level stairway at the field.
Major safety changes were implemented at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas, after a fan fell to his death from the stands in 2011 while trying to catch a ball thrown by Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton.
Shannon Stone fell over the railing and plunged 20 feet, leaving his young son alone in the stands. His death prompted new safety measures such as higher rails, a pre-game announcement, warning signs and security guards.
Reuters America contributed to this report.