NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Sports

August 14, 2013

Braves fan who died in fall went to several games a month

ATLANTA — A lifelong Atlanta Braves fan who fell about 65 feet to his death at the team’s stadium was waiting out a rain delay in a smoking area and talking to his mother on the phone shortly before the accident.

Ronald Lee Homer Jr., 30, had just told his mother that the rain was letting up and he was about to head to his seat for the game against the Philadelphia Phillies. At least four witnesses told police that no one else was standing near him when he fell over a fourth-level railing into a parking lot for players.

“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 yesterday morning.

Police said the fall that occurred around 8:30 p.m. appears to have been an accident and there was no indication of foul play. An incident report released yesterday says Homer was unconscious and wasn’t breathing when paramedics arrived. He was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

The frequency of such falls around the country — including two others in Atlanta in the past year — raises the question of whether stadiums are safe enough.

The Braves played the Philadelphia Phillies at 7:10 p.m. yesterday 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.”

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