SAN FRANCISCO – The brother of a Los Angeles Dodgers fan who was killed in a San Francisco brawl that police say was sparked by the long-running Dodgers-Giants rivalry is pushing back against claims that the stabbing was in self-defense.
At the same time, Robert Preece told San Francisco-based KGO-TV he swung a chair in the melee after another, larger group of people came up behind them, the station reported on Thursday. He described the chair as an aluminum beach chair that was a gift from his father from Dodger Stadium and said he used it to protect his brother.
Preece's brother, Jonathan Denver, was fatally stabbed on Sept. 25 after attending the Dodgers-Giants game with Preece, their father and two others to celebrate their father's 49th birthday. Denver lived in Fort Bragg, which is about 170 miles north of San Francisco.
Police have said Denver's group, many wearing Dodgers garb, got into a shouting match over the Dodgers with the suspect, 21-year-old Michael Montgomery, and a group of people he was with -- at least one of whom was wearing a Giants cap -- a few blocks from the stadium.
Montgomery's father, Marty, has said his son was jumped during the fight and stabbed Denver in self-defense after Denver and others yelled "Giants suck." The father told the Lodi News-Sentinel that his son said Denver hit him over the head with a chair during the fight.
Preece disputed the contention that Montgomery acted in self-defense, according to KGO-TV.
"I want the kid that took my brother from me so soon to be behind bars," Preece told the station.
Montgomery was arrested, but later released. He has not been charged. Prosecutors said police needed to interview independent witnesses to the fight.
"Somebody took my brother too soon, a little too soon, and it wasn't worth it," Preece said.
The stabbing was the latest incident over the years stemming from one of the most passionate rivalries in sports. Two years ago, Giants fan Bryan Stow suffered permanent brain damage when he was attacked in Los Angeles.