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Tragedy at a Ball Game: Father Falls to His Death as 7-Year-Old Son Watches

Fri, July 8, 2011 1:21pm EDT by 9 Comments

A firefighter trying to catch a ball plummeted 20 feet at a Texas Rangers baseball game as his son looked on.

Shannon Stone, 39, was enjoying the Texas Rangers and Oakland A’s July 7 game with his son, Cooper, 7, when he did what most fans do: try to catch a ball flying into the stands.

Shannon was sitting in the front row, a few seats down from former President George W. Bush, when he asked player Josh Hamilton to toss him a ball. Hamilton obliged, but as Shannon reached over the barrier to catch the ball, he fell forward, behind the scoreboard onto the concrete below. As he fell, little Cooper grabbed onto his father’s sandals, trying to catch him.

“I tried to grab him, but I couldn’t,” said Ronnie Hargis, who was seated next to Shannon. “I tried to slow him down a little bit. He went straight down.”

As Shannon was taken away by ambulance he was still conscious, saying, “Please check on my son. My son was up there by himself.”

Less than an hour after the fall, Shannon was pronounced dead at a Texas hospital.

The Texas Rangers’ team president Nolan Ryan said “Mr. Hamilton is very distraught over this, as the entire team is.”

Bob Melvin, the manager of the Oakland As said, “It’s just devastating. I don’t even know what to say. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family. Certainly baseball is not very important in light of something like that.”

We hope that safety precautions will be taken in the future to prevent accidents like these from happening!

–Scott Galina

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