SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS/KPIX 5) — A Los Angeles Dodgers fan was stabbed to death after his team played the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on Wednesday night, and police said Thursday one of two men detained in the attack would be charged with homicide.
Jonathan Denver, 24, was stabbed around 11:35 p.m. near Third and Harrison streets, four blocks from the ballpark where the Giants and Dodgers had played earlier in the night, with the Giants winning 6-4.
Denver, who was wearing Dodgers clothing, was with his father, brother and two other people at the time. They had left the game in the eighth inning and had gone to a nearby bar, San Francisco police Chief Greg Suhr said at a news conference Thursday morning.
After exiting the bar, the group encountered a group of Giants fans and there was “a back-and-forth” about the teams’ rivalry, Suhr said.
A minor fight erupted but was quickly broken up, the chief said.
Suhr said that what happened next remains unclear, but that one of the groups followed the other group and a second altercation ensued minutes later, during which Denver was stabbed. He was taken to San Francisco General Hospital, where he died.
Suhr said one of the suspects is still being questioned and may not face charges, but that the one who made the incriminating statements will be booked for homicide possibly on Thursday. He was identified late Thursday as 21-year-old Lodi resident Michael Montgomery.
Marty Montgomery, the father of Michael Montgomery, told the Lodi News-Sentinel on Thursday that his son was jumped during a fight and he stabbed Denver in self-defense.
Montgomery’s father said his son told him by phone that during the fight, Denver hit his son over the head with a chair, and in self-defense, his son stabbed Denver.
Montgomery told his father that Denver, who was wearing Dodgers apparel, yelled, “Giants suck,” at Montgomery’s friend who was wearing a Giants hat when Denver and others hit his son and their friends without warning.
Suhr said police are still seeking two other people believed to be connected to the case.
Suhr did not release any other information about the suspects except that they had come to San Francisco in a vehicle registered in Lodi.
Late Thursday morning, the San Francisco Giants tweeted a statement:
“We were deeply saddened to learn of last night’s horrific incident that occurred several blocks from the ballpark and resulted in the tragic death of 24-year old Jonathan Denver. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time. While details are still emerging, we want to be clear that there is absolutely no place in our community for this type of senseless violence. The Giants are working w/ SFPD to step up enforcement in and around the ballpark tonight and throughout the rest of this final home stand. We will also observe a moment of silence in memory of Mr. Denver before tonight’s game.”
Denver worked as a plumber’s apprentice for North Coast Plumbing, Heating & Sheet Metal Inc. in Fort Bragg, according to an employee at the company. He’s also the son of a Dodger Stadium employee, as the team confirmed via Twitter Thursday.
The Dodgers are shocked and saddened to learn of the death of Jonathan Denver, who is the son of one of our security guards.—
Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) September 26, 2013
Suhr said the Police Department has been assigning extra officers to this week’s games between the Giants and Dodgers.
The violence comes just three days after a teenage football fan was attacked at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park during the San Francisco 49ers 27-7 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Other violence broke out at the game on Sunday despite an increase in security. The stadium was also the site of two shootings, beatings and fights during a preseason game two years ago.
Stadium security and fan behavior also came under scrutiny when another Dodgers-Giants matchup saw a Northern California paramedic severely beaten. Bryan Stow, a Giants fan, suffered a traumatic brain injury after a beating by two men dressed in Dodgers gear following the March 31, 2011, home opener between the two longtime rivals.
Stow’s family said in a statement that they were “horrified and deeply saddened” by Wednesday’s violence. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family.”
The Giants are holding a fundraiser for Stow. The team will donate $10 from each ticket sold in certain sections of AT&T Park at Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday’s games to a fund setup for Stow, Slaughter said.
The Giants held a fundraiser for Stow at Tuesday’s game against the Dodgers and have two more planned at Thursday’s game and during their season finale against the San Diego Padres.
Suhr said police will continue sending undercover officers wearing Dodgers gear to Thursday’s game, along with other plainclothes officers, to ensure safety in and around the ballpark.
“There’s no place at these games for violence,” he said. “Nobody’s life should be at stake.”
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