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Black Baseball Player Shot Dead by White Umpire
New details have surfaced in the killing of a black man by an umpire at Nationals Stadium in Washington D.C. Thursday.
The victim, 29 year-old Andrew McCutchen of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, had been in a verbal altercation with the umpire, Dennis Berg, 47, and was reportedly wielding a baseball bat when Berg shot him six times.
"The ump (Berg) called McCutchen out on a borderline strike three, and when McCutchen turned around to complain, the dude just shot him," one witness with seats on the first base line described.
"It was pretty crazy," the man added.
Berg, who has been placed on administrative leave, stated through his attorney that, "Mr. McCutchen was conducting himself in a disorderly fashion, and upon refusing an order to vacate the premises, lifted a bat he was holding in a fashion that made me fear for my life."
A video of the incident obtained from ESPN shows McCutchen striking out on what appears to be a slider low and outside of the strike zone, after which follows a brief gap in the footage before he is seen bleeding on the ground beside home plate.
Friends and family of McCutchen claim he was a kind and law-abiding person, and that there was a reasonable explanation for him to be in possession of the bat.
"He was a professional baseball player," his mother Janice remarked. "He used it to hit balls with."
Still, some say Berg isn't to blame.
"The fact is, if McCutchen had just gone back to the dugout, he wouldn't be dead right now," commented one Nationals fan.
McCutchen was batting just .247 at the time of his death.
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