ANAHEIM, Calif. – An off-duty police officer shot and wounded two men who had assaulted him in the crowded Angel Stadium parking lot after Wednesday night’s Colorado Rockies-Los Angeles Angels game, authorities said.
The officer, who was walking to his car with his wife and two small children about 25 minutes after the game, was hit in the head with beer bottles, police Sgt. Tim Schmidt said.
“We think he was the victim of a crime,” Schmidt said.
The officer called a dispatcher at his department and asked for help, saying two men had choked him and asked him to get away from his car, Sgt. Rick Martinez said.
The off-duty officer then shot the men with his duty weapon, Martinez said. Police did not immediately identify the officer or the shooting victims.
One man was shot in the chin and was in critical condition, the other was shot in the upper arm and in serious but stable condition.
The officer also was taken to a hospital with a head wound, but was released early Thursday, Martinez said.
No one else in the parking lot was hurt, Martinez said.
The Orange County District Attorney’s office joined the Anaheim Police department in investigating the incident, which is required in officer-involved shootings.
The Angels had beaten the Rockies 11-3 earlier in the evening.
Rachel Cordova was among the startled and confused fans in the parking lot.
“We heard three shots and turned around and I thought, ‘Those are gun shots,’” Cordova told KNX radio. “One of the guys I was with said ‘No, it’s not’ but then we heard sirens.”
Cordova said she then walked toward the scene.
“I left there and saw a young, maybe 20-year-old male laying on the ground without his shirt, and they were attending to him,” she said.
The shooting was one of three major violent incidents at Southern California ballparks this season. A man died two days after getting into a fight on opening day at Angel Stadium in April, and another man was stabbed multiple times at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles after that team’s home opener but survived.