Family wants investigation into railings after Turner Field fall



ATLANTA - The family of the man that fell to his death at Turner Field Monday night told Channel 2 Action News it wants an investigation into the design of the stadium's railings.

Investigators said Ronald Homer, 30, of Conyers, fell 85 feet from the upper deck at the ball park and landed on air conditioner units in the player's parking area outside the stadium.

"There is no indication that Ronald Homer had any injuries other than those sustained as a result of a descent from an 85-foot height and impacting the pavement below. The cause of death is blunt force trauma. The manner of death, however, is still under investigation," according to a statement from the Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office.

Police said Homer was taken to Atlanta Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead.

Channel 2's Tony Thomas talked to Homer's parents Tuesday, who had many questions about how the fall happened.

"Whoever would think going to a ball game would end up in such a tragedy?" Ronald Homer Sr. told Thomas. "He was my best friend. We played together, we fished together. We did everything together."

Homer's mother, Connie Homer, said her son went to the game with a couple of friends. During a long rain delay, he'd apparently walked out onto the concourse for a smoke.

"He was a smoker, there was a rain delay and he went up to the smoking area which is about 60 plus feet and the next thing I know is they are calling me from Atlanta Medical Center," Homer Sr. said.

Homer's entire family is adamant that he was not a big drinker and was definitely not a big spender.

"What do the beers cost up there? $10 a piece? Ain't no way he would spend any money like that," cousin Derick Homer told Thomas.

Friends continue to stop by the family's Rockdale County home, offering support to a family overcome with grief.

"This has got to be the worst day of my life," Homer Sr. said.

"He's just a big ol' tall, good-natured kid that loved the Braves," Derick Homer said.

The incident even had Braves players shaken over what happened.

Channel 2's Ryan Young talked to Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons as he was signing autographs for fans outside the stadium Tuesday.

"It was tough, I mean as soon as the game was over I heard the guys talking about it, but nobody really knew what happened," Simmons told Young.

Simmons said the mood in the  clubhouse changed instantly as word spread about Homer's death.

"It hurts a little bit, I mean, I heard he fell right in the players' parking lot and … I just wanted to go home and forget. At that point we didn't even care that we lost that game. Just don't want to hear stuff like that happen, especially the Braves fans," Simmons said.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said his heart goes out to the Homer family.

"Anytime you have a loss of life, first you just ache for the families and for the folks that lost their loved ones and then you investigate it, and then you change. I'm confident that the Braves are committed to keeping their patrons as safe as possible," Reed said.

"It's scary, you know, just coming to a ball game. I saw it on TV last night and it was kind of weird knowing that I was at the game," fan Donnie Lewis told Young.

In a statement from the Atlanta Braves, the organization said, "(We) extend our sincerest and heartfelt condolences to Mr. Homer's family and friends. We are saddened by this tragic incident and will continue our investigation along with the Atlanta Police Department."

They also said a moment of silence will be held at Tuesday evening's game in honor of Homer.

Homer's death is not the first deadly fall at Turner Field. In 2008, a Cumming man fell from the upper deck onto seats behind home plate.

It's the third time a sports fan has fallen from the stands in Atlanta in about a 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 a factor.

A man fell about 25 feet over a staircase railing at a Georgia Tech-Miami football game on Sept. 22, 2012 and was not seriously injured.

Channel 2 Action News

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