SF Police: Giants Fan Faces Homicide Charges in Stabbing Death of Dodgers Fan

(AP) Man faces homicide charge in Dodgers fan's slaying
By SUDHIN THANAWALA and TERRY COLLINS
Associated Press
SAN FRANCISCO
San Francisco police say a 21-year-old man faces a homicide charge in the fatal stabbing of a Los Angeles Dodgers fan after team's game against the Giants.

Police said Thursday that Michael Montgomery, of Lodi, is being charged in the death of 24-year-old Jonathan Denver.

Police say Denver was walking with his father, brother and two other people not far from the San Francisco Giants' ballpark late Wednesday when their group exchanged words with some Giants fans who were leaving a nightclub.

The exchange turned physical and Denver, who was wearing Dodgers gear, was stabbed to death.

San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr says Montgomery made incriminating statements to investigators.

Another suspect remains in custody as the investigation continues.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

The man who was fatally stabbed during a confrontation after a Dodgers-Giants game in San Francisco was the son of a Dodgers security guard, the team said Thursday.

The Dodgers said Jonathan Denver's father, Robert Preece, worked security on game days at Dodger Stadium.

San Francisco police say Denver, 24, was walking with his father, brother and two other people not far from the San Francisco Giants' ballpark Wednesday night when their group exchanged words with some Giants fans who were leaving a nightclub.

The exchange turned physical and Denver, who was wearing Dodgers gear, was stabbed to death.

"There is no rational explanation for this senseless act," the Dodgers said in a written statement. "The pain that this has caused his family and friends is unimaginable."

Denver attended the game with his relatives but left in the eighth inning of what turned out to be a 6-4 Giants victory. His attackers did not attend the game, police said.

San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr said two people were in custody, and one of them will face homicide charges.

"One of the suspects during the course of the interviews (with detectives) made incriminating statements that give us the indication that he will be the person booked for homicide," Suhr told reporters.

"We're trying to figure out what we're going to do with the other suspect," Suhr continued. "The investigation is still ongoing."

Suhr did not release the name of the suspects in the stabbing, which has punctuated a bitter rivalry between division rivals.

The altercation several blocks from AT&T Park was the second violent confrontation between Dodgers and Giants fans in the past several years to end in death or serious injury. Bryan Stow, a Northern California paramedic and Giants fan suffered a traumatic brain injury after two men dressed in Dodgers gear attacked him following the teams' March 31, 2011, game in Los Angeles.

In Wednesday's attack, Denver, his father and his brother had left a bar around 11:30 p.m. when they exchanged heated words about the Giants-Dodgers rivalry with another group of people leaving a nightclub a few blocks away from the ballpark.

One of the members of the group was wearing a Giants hat, Suhr said.

At first, no one was seriously hurt in a fight that occurred about 90 minutes after the game ended, but a second altercation occurred a few minutes later, Suhr said.

"We're not sure at this time who wouldn't let it go. It wasn't clear who started the second fight," Suhr said, but it ended with Denver's stabbing.

"Obviously, this is one of the most storied rivalries in baseball. That said, and I'm a big Giants fan, there is no place at these games for violence," Suhr said. "Nobody's life should be at stake whether they are at the game, leaving the game, whether it's six blocks away and an hour and a half after the game."

Police were canvassing the area Thursday looking for the weapon used to kill Denver and any surveillance video of the crime. The suspects' car is registered in Lodi in San Joaquin County, police said.

Denver was born in Los Angeles County but was living in Fort Bragg, about 170 miles north of San Francisco, according to public records. He and his brother came to San Francisco to attend the game with their father, who lives in Southern California, said Cas Smith, the owner of North Coast Plumbing in Fort Bragg, where Denver worked.

"He was a hardworking kid," Smith told KNTV-TV.

Denver did have two recent brushes with the law in Mendocino County, according to KGO-TV. He was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in July, and for public intoxication at the county fair this month.

Police said they didn't know if alcohol was a factor in the stabbing.

The Giants said in a statement that they would observe a moment of silence for Denver at Thursday's game and increase security around the ballpark.

"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 team said in a statement.

Police, too, said they planned to have more officers on the streets, although they said their presence is already higher during Giants-Dodgers games.

The teams, which moved west in the 1950s _ the Dodgers from Brooklyn and the Giants from New York City _ are longtime, fierce National League Western Division rivals, and passions tend to run high when the teams play in both cities.

The Giants won the World Series last year and in 2010 but are poised to miss the playoffs this season. The Dodgers, on the other hand, were in last place just two months ago but clinched the division last week.

Violence has marred previous contests between the teams. In 2003, Giants fan Marc Antenorcruz, 25, was fatally shot by a group of Dodgers fans after a drunken argument at Dodger Stadium.

Stow, the paramedic beaten in a parking lot after the Dodgers' 2011 home opener, is still recovering from his injuries.

Two Dodgers fans are awaiting trial on charges in the beating, which sparked outrage and brought stadium security changes around the state and country.

___

Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Lisa Leff and Jason Dearen in San Francisco, AP Sports Writer Beth Harris in Los Angeles, and researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York.

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