SAN FRANCISCO — 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.
Jonathan Denver‘s father, Robert Preece, worked security on game days at Dodger Stadium, the Dodgers said.
Meanwhile, the father of the suspect, Michael Montgomery, accused of stabbing Denver to death, said his son told him it was done in self-defense.
San Francisco police say Denver, 24, was with his father, brother and two other people a few blocks 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.
“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 said Montgomery, 21, of Lodi, was arrested on suspicion of homicide. Another person, whose name was not released, was also taken into custody.
“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,” Police Chief Greg 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.”
Police said they were still looking for two more suspects.
But Montgomery’s father said late Thursday that his son was jumped during a fight and he stabbed Denver in self-defense.
Marty Montgomery told the Lodi News-Sentinel that his son said by phone 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.
Marty Montgomery said that during the fight, Denver hit his son over the head with a chair, and in self-defense, his son, Michael, stabbed Denver.
“It was a self-defense deal,” Marty Montgomery said. “[Michael] got jumped. [Denver and friends] started swinging chairs, and he stabbed [Denver]. [Denver] mouthed off about the San Francisco hat. It wasn’t even [Michael's] hat.”
The father said he had been trying to reach his son on Thursday when he called him and told him about the fight.
“He’s freaking out,” Marty Montgomery said. “He’s like, ‘I saw him die in his dad’s arms.’”
Michael Montgomery and a friend went to Marty’s house to get the Giants hat before they left for San Francisco on Wednesday afternoon, his father said. They were going to attend a rave.
“If they didn’t have the hat, they probably never would have been in this situation,” said Marty Montgomery, adding that his son was not a passionate San Francisco Giants fan.
Police were canvassing the area Thursday looking for the weapon used to kill Denver and any surveillance video of the crime.
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 meet their father for the game, 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, who just started a job as a plumbing apprentice, 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 Wednesday’s stabbing.