Reporting Don Knapp
LODI (CBS SF) — The father of a Dodgers fan fatality stabbed during a melee with Giants fans is planning to make a public plea for witnesses to the incident after San Francisco’s district attorney said he lacks evidence to charge the man suspected in the killing.
A family member said Jonathan Denver’s father plans to speak outside the Giants’ stadium before Sunday’s game with the San Diego Padres. Denver’s family hopes someone may have recorded the melee with mobile phones.
Michael Montgomery, 21, of Lodi was released shortly after 9 p.m. Friday pending further investigation and could be rearrested, Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Susan Fahey said.
The release came a few hours after District Attorney George Gascon said his office was not satisfied with the evidence gathered so far and has asked police for more in the death of Denver, 24, on Wednesday night a few blocks from AT&T Park.
“We are extremely concerned about the loss of life and want to make sure justice is served,” Gascon said in a statement. “In order to meet our ethical obligation in charging this case, we must have a good faith basis to believe we can prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Gascon said not all witnesses had been questioned, and no independent witnesses had been interviewed in the stabbing.
“It is vital for our office to have independent corroboration of the incident in order to meet our ethical obligation to charge this case,” Gascon said.
San Francisco police did not immediately respond to messages left seeking comment.
Police Chief Greg Suhr said earlier that Montgomery made “incriminating statements” that led to his booking the night after the stabbing.
Suhr said Denver, 24, was with his father, older brother and two other people a few blocks from the Giants’ ballpark when they exchanged words with some Giants fans.
“The back and forth, `Go Dodgers!’ `Go Giants!”‘ Suhr said. “And it deteriorated from there.”
Montgomery’s father told the Lodi New-Sentinel his son was jumped during the fight, and he stabbed Denver in self-defense after Denver and others yelled “Giants suck” and hit his son and friends without warning.
A second suspect was questioned and released by police earlier Friday.
The stabbing was the latest in years of incidents stemming from one of the most passionate rivalries in American sports.
Two years ago, Giants fan Bryan Stow suffered permanent brain damage when he was attacked in Los Angeles.
There was a moment of silence for Denver before the Dodgers hosted the Colorado Rockies on Friday night.
“I just can’t understand how, sporting event aside, society’s gotten like this,” Giants general manager Brian Sabean said Friday. “It’s bizarre to me.”
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