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UPDATED: DC Firefighter in spotlight after off-duty Nats Park arrest

Viral video shows Chris Sullivan's arrest after violent confrontation with ushers

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Chris Sullivan is a DC Fire & EMS Department firefighter who has made the news a number of times in his career and not necessarily the good type of news. This time he received national attention with a viral video picked up by TMZ Sports. It showed Sullivan off-duty at Nats Park as ushers tried to remove him from a game. It didn’t go well and DC Police arrested Sullivan for simple assault. News reports indicate Sullivan has been banned from the park for five years. Sullivan, who is also known by his nickname “Hookman”, told’s Scott Broom the usher was the aggressor (more below).

In a statement, DC Fire & EMS indicates Sullivan was already on administrative leave with pay when the arrest occurred:

The actions witnessed in the video are absolutely unacceptable. Our department was notified on September 27, 2022, that an employee of our agency had been arrested and charged with simple assault by Metropolitan Police. Prior to this incident, the individual was on administrative leave with pay, pending the outcome of an internal personnel process. He will remain on leave as our internal investigation into this matter continues.

In 2009, Sullivan was testifying before the DC Council with others from the department about unfair disciplinary actions and procedures under Chief Dennis Rubin. Sullivan had to be gaveled down by a council member for making what some saw as threatening remarks directed at Rubin. Sullivan told STATter911 at the time that he saw Rubin and his command staff laughing in another part of the hearing room while Sullivan testified about the impact on his son.

Rubin eventually terminated Sullivan, who then appealed his firing. Sullivan returned to the DC Fire & EMS Department in 2011 when Kenneth Ellerbe was chief. At the time, Ellerbe told STATter911 he brought Sullivan back, fitting with his reversal of a number of personnel actions and policies instituted by Rubin. Chris Sullivan says that’s not the case. According to Sullivan, his return came through a civil suit against the DC government in federal court. An earlier version of this story omitted this information.

After his return to the department, Sullivan was publicly critical of Ellerbe’s policies. The Washington Post’s Mike Debonis and Peter Hermann reported in 2013 that Sullivan shared personal text messages from Ellerbe on the Watch Desk where Ellerbe wrote he wanted Rubin’s “head on a stick.” Ellerbe died in February.

Mark Segraves & Andrea Swalec, WRC-TV:

Sullivan already was on administrative leave with pay and will remain on leave during an investigation, DC Fire and EMS said. Sources familiar with the internal investigation told News4 Sullivan had been suspended for making threats to superiors and others in the department, and was in the process of being terminated before the clash in the ballpark.

“This incident likely will get added to the charges before the trial board,” Donahue, the city administrator, said. “It’s someone that has a pattern and history of discipline issues. It is sad that this is now included as part of it.”

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In 2017, DC Fire & EMS issued a statement about Sullivan after reporters asked about his Facebook comment concerning the suicide death a year earlier of Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department Firefighter Nicole Mittendorff..

It’s not known what, if any, action was taken by DC Fire & EMS.

Here’s more on the Nats Park incident from Scott Broom at

Sullivan told WUSA9 he entered the lower section near the Braves dugout to look for a friend with season tickets. While there, Sullivan said he heckled Braves player Marcell Ozuna, which drew the attention of guest services workers.

Sullivan claims the workers were the “aggressors.”

“If he had not interacted with me I would have been on my way,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan responded to an email from WUSA9 saying:

“For the record, the Nationals park employee who’s being reported as the victim is called a guest service representative (a fancier name for an usher) and I can assure you it’s not in his job description to place his hands or body on any fans.”

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