Family of slain Dodgers fan asks San Francisco for help with case 

click to enlarge Jonathan Denver family
  • Evan DuCharme/special to the S.F. Examiner
  • Robert Preece Sr., second from left, speaks out Sunday asking for witnesses to his son Jonathan Denver’s killing. From left, Denver’s aunt Jill Haro; his brother Robert Preece Jr.; and his mother, Diana Denver, also attended.
When Giants fans made their way into AT&T Park on Sunday to make the best of the final game in a losing season, so too did the family of Jonathan Denver — although theirs was a loss far greater.

Denver’s family huddled together at Willie Mays Plaza an hour before first pitch, tearful and distraught. Only days earlier, the 24-year-old plumber’s apprentice and Los Angeles Dodgers fan was stabbed to death several blocks from AT&T Park over a dispute about team allegiances.

Robert Preece Jr. held an L.A. cap to the sky in honor of his brother.

Collecting himself, Robert Preece Sr., Denver’s father, made a plea for witnesses and anything — especially cellphone video footage — that would advance the investigation.

Sunday’s appearance followed District Attorney George Gascón’s announcement Friday evening that there is insufficient evidence to charge a previous suspect, 21-year-old Giants fan and Lodi resident Michael Montgomery, at this time.

“Losing a child is a heartache no parent should endure,” said Robert Preece Sr., who witnessed the fight that led to his son’s death. “We believe someone may have recorded the incident.”

Denver’s mother, Diana Denver, started but could not complete her comments. The victim’s aunt, Jill Haro, followed up by saying the family is “outraged” at how he has been portrayed in the media and is angered that no charges have been filed.

Montgomery reportedly admitted to his father than he stabbed Jonathan Denver, according to the Lodi News-Sentinel, but said it was in self-defense.

“We have reason to believe [someone] taped it … and think that’s going to answer the questions for everybody,” Haro, 43, said.

The District Attorney’s Office, the Police Department and Montgomery’s family could not be reached for comment Sunday.

Denver lived in Fort Bragg and most of his family is in Covina, a Los Angeles suburb. They had reunited to attend Wednesday’s Giants-Dodgers game for Robert Preece Sr.’s 49th birthday.

“More than once at that game, my son told me how much he loved me,” Robert Preece Sr. said. “That will remain the most cherished memory I have.”

The death comes two years after the beating of Giants fan Bryan Stow in a Dodger Stadium parking lot. Stow, who has permanent brain damage as a result, was present in a box seat at Sunday’s game and received a standing ovation from the audience.

Haro said her family also has received support from San Francisco fans.

“We’ve had a lot of Giants fans come up and give us condolences and that has been very nice,” she said.

However, the incident has changed some fans’ perception of the ballpark atmosphere.

Lynette Fonseca, 56, of Pittsburg said she no longer felt safe walking by herself from The Embarcadero to AT&T Park.

“It’s unfortunate because this is America’s pastime, and with such tragedy it’s not good,” Fonseca said.

About The Author

Jessica Kwong

Jessica Kwong

Bio:
Jessica Kwong covers transportation, housing, and ethnic communities, among other topics, for the San Francisco Examiner. She covered City Hall as a fellow for the San Francisco Chronicle, night cops and courts for the San Antonio Express-News, general news for Spanish-language newspapers La Opinión and El Mensajero,... more
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