Fan dies after fall at Turner Field
ATLANTA -- An Atlanta Braves fan who fell to his death at the team's stadium told his mother in a phone call shortly before the accident that he was preparing to head to his seat after a rain delay.
A lifelong Braves fan, Ronald Lee Homer Jr. fell about 65 feet at Monday night's game between the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies, which had been delayed for nearly two hours by heavy rain.
Homer, 30, spoke with his mother by cellphone as he and other fans waited for the rain to let up. In that conversation, he said the rain was beginning to slack off and indicated he was preparing to go to his seat.
"He said `I love you mom, and I said `I love you too' and that was it," his mother, Connie Homer, said in an interview on Tuesday morning.
Police said the fall appears to have been an accident and there was no indication of foul play. They declined to release many other details of the fall that happened shortly before 9 p.m.
The Braves play the Philadelphia Phillies at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday at Turner Field. A team spokeswoman declined to comment on the circumstances of the death or whether safety changes were being made.
Connie Homer said her 6-foot-6 son followed the team through losing seasons as well as winning ones.
"It didn't matter if they were winning, losing or what -- he's been a Braves fan forever," she said.
Homer, who always wore a Braves baseball hat, went to three or four games a month and watched every game that was televised, his father Ronald Homer said.
"This this is going to hurt us for the rest of our life," he said. "When you lose a kid, not only your kid but your best friend, too, it's bad."
Homer grew up in Conyers, Ga., and graduated in 2001 from Rockdale High School, where he was involved in student government. He was single, had one sister and did landscape work for a living.
"He was big hearted, just a great guy, very respectful," his mother said.
Neither the team nor the police have said how high the railing is in the area of the stadium where Homer fell.
Smoking is allowed in the area, which overlooks a parking lot used by Braves players. Though Connie Homer doesn't know details of how her son fell, she said he was a smoker.
Connie Homer said she's heard nothing from authorities as to what might have caused her son to fall.
"They called us up to the hospital and they told us he was gone," she said. "The whole thing is surreal."
An autopsy was planned for Tuesday.
Monday's accident wasn't the first fall by a fan at Turner Field, and two other people suffered falls at the city's pro football stadium in the last 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 involved.
A man fell about 25 feet over a staircase railing at a Georgia Tech-Miami football game in the Georgia Dome 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 between the Braves and the New York Mets and later died. Police found that alcohol was involved. The Braves have said the death was the first one at the park that didn't involve a medical condition.
Turner Field became the Braves' home in 1997, a year after serving as the site of events for the 1996 Summer Olympics.
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press