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Crime & Law

Posted: 3:24 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013

Dodgers fan dies in violent confrontation; Suspect arrested

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Dodgers fan Jonathan Denver photo at AT&T Park

By Tara Moriarity/KTVU, Rob Roth/KTVU and Wires

SAN FRANCISCO —

One of two suspects detained in the fatal stabbing of a Dodgers fan -- the son of a Los Angeles Dodgers team security guard -- near AT&T Park last night has been arrested on a homicide charge, authorities said Thursday.

Police said the suspect "made admissions" during his interview with detectives leading to his arrest. Police identified the homicide suspect as 21-year-old Lodi resident Michael Montgomery.

The San Francisco Coroner's Office identified the dead man as Jonathan Denver. The 24-year-old is a plumber's apprentice from Fort Bragg and had come to San Francisco to hang out with his family who were in the area from Southern California.

Montgomery was arrested on suspicion of killing Denver Wednesday night near Third and Harrison streets, four blocks from where Denver and his family members had watched a game between the Giants and Dodgers earlier in the night.

A second suspect detained at 2nd and Howard early Thursday was still being questioned.

San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr said two other suspects were still being sought in the confrontation  over the teams' rivalry that took place at about 11:39 p.m. Wednesday in the area of Third and Stillman near the ballpark.

Suhr said Denver, his brother, his father  and his father's girlfriend had all attended the game but left in the eighth inning and had stopped at a neighborhood bar.

After leaving the bar, the victim's group crossed paths with a group of Giants fans and "there was a back-and-forth about the Giants-Dodgers rivalry," Suhr said.

The suspects, Suhr said, had not been at the game although one of them reportedly had a Giants hat on.

The argument deteriorated into a fight in which no one was seriously hurt, he said.

Suhr said 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 in the upper body.

He was rushed to San Francisco General Hospital and died of his wounds a short time later, authorities said.

Suhr did not release any information about the suspects except that they had come to San Francisco in a vehicle registered in Lodi.

The Dodgers issued a statement Thursday afternoon saying that Denver was the son of a team security guard.

"There is no rational explanation for this senseless act which resulted in Jonathan's death," team officials wrote. "The pain that this has caused his family and friends is unimaginable. Words are not enough to describe our sadness."

Meanwhile, Giants also issued 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," the statement read. " 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 statement continued. "The Giants are working with the San Francisco Police Department 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."

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.

Confrontations between the fans of the two California rivals are also not unusual. Security at AT&T Park is generally bolstered when the Dodgers come to town.

Suhr said police would continue sending undercover officers wearing Dodgers gear to Thursday night'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."

Stadium security and fan behavior also came under scrutiny when another Dodgers-Giants matchup saw a Northern California paramedic severely beaten in Los Angeles.

Bryan Stow, a Giants fan, suffered a traumatic brain injury after a beating by two men dressed in Dodgers gear in a Dodger Stadium parking lot following the March 31, 2011, after a game between the two longtime rivals.

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.

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