From the sound of things, Monday night didn’t begin as anything atypical for Ronald Lee Homer Jr., a 30-year-old Atlanta Braves fan who lived in nearby Conyers, Ga, and worked as a landscaper.
Homer attended three or four games per month, according to an Associated Press report, and at Monday’s game against the Phillies at Turner Field, the most unusual thing was a nearly two-hour rain delay.
When the rain stopped and field was almost ready for first pitch, Homer called his mother, Connie, for a brief chat before saying he was heading to his seat.
“He said ‘I love you mom, and I said ‘I love you too’ and that was it,” Connie Homer said in an interview on Tuesday morning.
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We still don’t know what happened next — how Connie Homer went from hearing “I love you, mom” to hearing “he’s gone” when the hospital called later that evening.
This much is sadly certain: Ronald Homer fell 65 feet from an upper-level platform at Turner Field onto the player’s parking lot outside the stadium. He was rushed to Atlanta Medical Center where first reports said he was in critical condition. He was pronounced dead a couple hours later.
Atlanta Police surveyed the situation from Monday night, when the fall was originally reported, until early Tuesday morning and have said it looks to be accidental with no indications of foul play. Neither police nor the Braves have been able to give any more details about the circumstances leading to Homer’s fall.
At home on Tuesday, his parents are remembering Ronald Homer Jr. as a life-long Braves fan, who stood 6-foot-6 and often had a Braves cap on his head. His father, Ronald Sr., told the AP that if his son wasn’t at a Braves game in person, he was usually watching it on TV. The two of them followed the team together.
“This is going to hurt us for the rest of our life,” Ronald Homer said. “When you lose a kid, not only your kid but your best friend, too, it’s bad.”
Homer’s parents don’t know what happened to their son, but the platform from which he fell is an area where smoking is permitted and Homer was a smoker, according to his mother. She also told Atlanta’s WXIA-TV she didn’t think he was drunk, but wondered if was trying to peek at players’ automobiles.
“He’s six feet, six inches tall. That would have been a little bitty fence,” Connie said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he was leaning over looking at the cars in the players’ parking lot.”
She said she doubts her son was intoxicated.
“He might have had one or two beers but no more than that,” she added. “He was tight with his money. He’s a good guy.”
This marks the third time an Atlanta-area sports fan fell this year at a game, and the second fan to die from a fall at a Braves game in the past five years. Two fans fell last season during college football games at the Georgia Dome. Neither died. In 2008, a Braves fan fell down a stairwell and died after sustaining head injuries. Alcohol was a factor in that incident.
As for Ronald Homer Jr., there’s an autopsy planned for Tuesday. That might give police, the Braves — and most importantly, the Homer family — some answers.