3 Dead After Baseball Park Shooting

Children and parents milling around waiting for an evening of baseball games were horrified Tuesday night when a man walked into the ballpark and opened fire.

Police say 35-year-old Ricky Gerald Todd Smith walked into the Dixie Youth baseball park and shot to death his ex-wife, 32-year-old Diana Smith, and her boyfriend, 35-year-old James Edward McQuinn II, in front of hundreds of children and their parents.

Police say Smith then shot himself and died Wednesday morning at Flowers Hospital in Dothan.

The gunman used a 12-gauge shotgun to fire 10 shots at the victims, WFSA-TV reported. When the shotgun jammed, he pulled out a .22-caliber pistol and shot at his ex-wife before shooting himself, witnesses told the Dothan Eagle.

An eyewitness says the slain woman was found curled up on the ground, with her hands clasped together as if in prayer.

The shootings happened at about 6:30 p.m. as some 200 children and parents were gathering for evening games, the newspaper reported.

"A large number of them are just in total shock and total disbelief," Ozark Police Chief Tony Spivey said. "And very obviously, we have a lot of traumatized children and parents."

Spivey said the shooting stemmed from a custody dispute.

"We're very fortunate with the direction the shots were fired that a stray bullet did not go up in the stands or on to the field," he said.

Several bystanders were treated for shock and a chaplain and police department counselors have been trying to help those who witnessed the murders.

"We bring our kids to the ballfield, ball is a big thing in Ozark," said witness Theresa Moates. "It's just scary."



© 2000, The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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