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Last Month's Fatal Fall at Turner Field Ruled a Suicide

Paul Steinbach

Perhaps there is one scenario — beyond horseplay, intoxication or medical episode — in which the upper reaches of stadiums can't be expected to keep fans perfectly safe. When a fan is intent on taking his own life, as investigators have determined was the case with Ronald Homer last month at Atlanta's Turner Field, the role of building codes regarding the height of concrete or steel barriers is considerably diminished.

With the Aug. 12 game delayed nearly two hours by rain, Homer, a 30-year-old Braves fan and frequent visitor to Turner Field, had strayed from the typical path of fan foot traffic to a service area overlooking the players' parking lot. He fall 85 feet from the stadium's fourth-level and died of blunt force trauma. Betty Honey, an investigator with the Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office, said Thursday that Homer had committed suicide.

Immediately following the incident, Homer's parents had questioned whether the 3 1/2-foot-tall railing found in the area of Turner Field where their son fell was adequate to contain someone of his 6-foot-6-inch stature. AB has raised similar questions following recent fatal and non-fatal stadium falls. As to what prompted Homer to take his own life, or even how investigators came to that conclusion, there may be no answers.

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