An emergency message warning flashes on a sign board during the game between the Braves and Pirates at SunTrust Park. A loud alarm signal and flashing lights startled fans Tuesday night, just a day after an attack by a suicide bomber at a pop concert in Manchester, England, left at least 22 dead. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

‘False alarm’ at SunTrust Park briefly disrupts Braves game, fans

The scoreboard at SunTrust Park briefly flashed an emergency message during the Braves game on Tuesday that later was said to be a false alarm.

During the third inning of the Braves-Pirates game, a scoreboard message indicated that an emergency had been reported in the building and that the stadium should be evacuated. The message was accompanied by a loud alarm signal and flashing lights.

An altercation between fans in one of the ballpark restaurants caused a malfunction that resulted in the alarm sounding, the Associated Press reported.

When the alarm sounded some spectators started to leave their seats and players halted the game action. Once the alarm stopped, fans settled back into their seats and the game continued.

After a few seconds the message disappeared from the scoreboard and the alarm stopped. 

During the fourth inning, a scoreboard message said that the earlier warning was a “false alarm” and that there was no emergency in the stadium. SunTrust Park tweeted that “everything is operating normally” and “we apologize for the inconvenience.”

But some fans were shaken by the experience.

“As someone who struggles with anxiety and has two young children at home, it did make me panic a bit,” Hayley Roberson of Woodstock said.

“Several people around us stood up to leave, all kind of looking at each other to see if it was real. I just looked at my husband in confusion, not really sure what was going on. As soon as the alarm stopped, a Pirates batter took the plate and the game continued as normal. That is why I sent a tweet to both the Braves and the SunTrust Park Twitter accounts — I understand that accidents happen, but it should have been immediately addressed to the crowd.

“Around 8:55, nearly half an hour after the alarm, a message came up on one of the smaller outfield screens. I did not see it, but my husband did,” she said. “By the time he pointed it out to me, it was gone. It said something along the lines of ‘we apologize for the false alarm.’ ”

The Cobb County Police Department released a statement, saying “there was never a security issue or an evacuation of the park. There was a situation in the Chophouse, but it was quickly handled. Again, there is no public safety threat at this time.”

A day earlier, an attack by a suicide bomber at a pop concert in Manchester, England, left at least 22 dead.

“I immediately texted my dad about it,” Roberson said of the scare at the Braves game. “He mentioned the explosion in Manchester in his reply as well. It was definitely in the forefront of my mind, especially being only a day after such a tragic and senseless attack. Arenas and stadiums are said to be “easy targets” so when that alarm went off, it certainly was my first thought.”

The AJC’s Raisa Habersham contributed to this article.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.