Mishap amid World Series chaos, not beating, may have killed man

Courtesy of Eric LawsonPolice think that the death of 37-year-old Sean Moffitt may have been an accident during the chaos that began in San Francisco shortly after the Giants won the 2012 World Series.

Courtesy of Eric LawsonPolice think that the death of 37-year-old Sean Moffitt may have been an accident during the chaos that began in San Francisco shortly after the Giants won the 2012 World Series.

An accident — not murder — might have led to the death of a 37-year-old man who suffered head trauma while celebrating the Giants’ World Series victory in the Upper Haight on Oct. 28, police said Thursday.

About 9:30 p.m. that day, Sean Moffitt later told his roommate, he was beaten over the head with a metal object by five men at Haight Street and Masonic Avenue, according to police. But police had a different theory Thursday — that Moffitt might have been accidentally injured amid the throngs of fans who flooded the streets after the Giants swept the Detroit Tigers.

“People spilled onto the streets; people were jumping around,” police Officer Gordon Shyy said. “We’re getting some accounts that he may have been involved in that.”

The death is still considered suspicious, Shyy said, adding that police were not able to interview Moffitt. No one other than Moffitt’s roommate reported the assault, Shyy said. Autopsy results are pending.

The night of the incident, revelers who saw that Moffitt was injured flagged down police, Shyy said. Paramedics were called, but Moffitt declined treatment and went home, where he told his roommate about the assault and then fell asleep.

The next morning, Shyy said, the roommate told Moffitt he did not look good and insisted he go to a hospital.

Moffitt was pronounced dead at San Francisco General Hospital at 2:29 p.m. Oct. 30.

“We’re asking for anyone that was there to contact us — anyone taking videos or pictures with their cellphones,” Shyy said. “We’re looking for a firsthand account.”

Moffitt was identified by The Tribune-Star in Terre Haute, Ind., as the grandson of Terre Haute native Donald Moffitt, the retired president and chairman of CNF Inc., a freight transportation and logistics services company that later became Con-way Inc.

A saddened Donald Moffitt told the newspaper in an email that Sean  Moffitt “had some health problems last year” and “seemed to have accepted the fact that he might have a short life.” Sean Moffitt was an avid Giants fan, Donald Moffitt also wrote, and before his death he requested that his ashes be scattered over Sausalito Bay, which is what his family planned to do.

The family hopes police will get to the bottom of what happened.

“I lived in San Francisco in the ’80s, when the 49ers were like constantly winning,” the victim’s uncle Michael Moffitt of Sitka, Alaska, said Thursday. “And it was always great parades and stuff. Why did this dissolve into a riot?”

Citywide World Series celebrations turned ugly as the night wore on, with incidents of vandalism and arson — including the torching of a Muni bus — leading to more than 30 arrests.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

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