Updated at 1:30 p.m. EDT
Police are investigating an incident in which Atlanta Braves fan died after a 65-foot fall Monday night at Turner Field, the second fan fatality at an Atlanta sports event in less than a year.
The man, identified as 29-year-old Ronald Homer, fell over a guardrail and onto a parking lot just before 9 p.m. EDT, as the Braves’ game against the Philadelphia Phillies was getting underway after a two-hour rain delay.
“At this time there’s no indication of foul play and the fall appears accidental,” police officer John Chafee told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It appears he fell from an upper-level platform to a secured lot below.”
Homer was taken to Atlanta Medical Center, where he died. “I’m just sick,” his mother, Connie, told WXIA in Atlanta. “We’re a very close family. He was big-hearted.”
The fall, according to Chafee, appeared to be accidental, but police were releasing no other details of what witnesses said they saw. It is unclear whether alcohol or wet conditions were factors.
“He’s 6 feet, 6 inches tall. That would have been a little bitty fence,” Homer’s mother said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he was leaning over looking at the cars in the players’ parking lot.”
She doubted whether he was intoxicated. “He might have had one or two beers but no more than that,” she said. “He was tight with his money. He’s a good guy.”
His father, Ronald Homer Sr., told USA Today that his son went out to smoke a cigarette and the railing was inadequate for a man of his son’s height. “Those railings where he was are not tall enough,” he said. “They are not tall enough for being that high up and that dangerous.”
Homer added that he and his wife have considered consulting a lawyer.
“They need to fix that. That’s a flaw in engineering,” Homer said. “I don’t care if we don’t get a nickel, no one should go through what his mother and I are going through right now.”
The death is the second in a fall at Turner Field and the third at a major sports facility in the city. In late August 2012, a 20-year-old fan died after falling over a railing at the Georgia Dome during the Tennessee-North Carolina football game. He landed on another fan in the alcohol-related incident, according to law-enforcement authorities. Just over three weeks later, a man fell about 25 feet over a staircase railing at the Georgia Tech-Miami game in the Georgia Dome. He was not seriously hurt.
In May 2008, a fan died when he fell 150 feet, from the upper-deck concourse to the field-level concourse behind home plate, at Turner Field.