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Dodgers: Slain fan was son of team security guard

Friday - 9/27/2013, 3:40am  ET

This 2013 photo released by the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office shows Jonathan Denver. Denver, who was fatally stabbed during a confrontation after a Los Angeles Dodgers-San Francisco Giants baseball game in San Francisco, was the son of one of a Dodgers security guard, the team said Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013. San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr said two people were in custody, and one of them will face homicide charges. (AP Photo/Mendocino County Sheriff's Office)

SUDHIN THANAWALA
Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- 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 Michael 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 right in order to get the Giants hat before they left for San Francisco 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.

Fans of both teams expressed a range of emotions as they entered Thursday night's game at AT&T Park.

"I was a little bit scared at first but then I thought tonight will probably be the safest night at this ballpark, so I thought it was still OK to bring my son out to the game," said Clay Brust, a Dodgers fan from Reno, Nev.

Brian Chew, a Giants Fan from San Bruno, Calif., said the stabbing was unfortunate.

"It seems like the passion that exudes in some fans is really pointed in the wrong direction," Chew said. "We have bigger purposes in life than just orange and black, or blue and white."

The altercation several blocks from the ballpark 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.

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."

Denver, his father and his brother had left a bar around 11:30 p.m. -- about 90 minutes after the game ended -- when they exchanged heated words about the Giants-Dodgers rivalry with another group of people leaving a nightclub.

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

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