Mostly clear

Family of slain Fort Bragg Dodgers fan to appeal to witnesses

SAN FRANCISCO — The father of a Fort Bragg Dodgers fan fatally stabbed Wednesday during a melee following a Giants baseball game is planning to make a public plea for witnesses after San Francisco's district attorney said he lacks evidence to charge a suspect who has been released.

Victim Jonathan Denver's father plans to speak outside the Giants' stadium at noon, before Sunday's 1:05 p.m. game with the San Diego Padres, a family member said.

The suspect, Michael Montgomery, 21, was released from custody Friday night after District Attorney George Gascon said police had insufficient evidence to charge him in the 24-year-old Fort Bragg man's death.

Family friend Verna Escola of Fort Bragg said several family members and friends plan to be at several corners near the stadium beginning at 9:30 a.m., seeking help and passing out fliers about a memorial fund set up for Denver.

Gascon said police had not spoken with any independent witnesses who may have seen the fight Wednesday night. Denver's father, Robert Preece, believes some people may have recorded the melee with mobile phones, said Preece's sister, Jill Preece Haro.

"We have reason to believe someone recorded this," Haro said, adding that Preece and others with them that night saw bystanders using cellphone cameras. "We're calling on them to come forward to help both families find out what happened."

Haro said Denver's father, who works as a security guard at Dodger Stadium, and other family members were motivated to travel from his Southern California home to make his public plea after Montgomery's release and Gascon's explanation for not charging Montgomery.

"The San Francisco Police Department has provided us an initial investigation," Gascon said in a statement Friday night. "However, not all witnesses have been interviewed, nor have any independent witnesses of the incident been interviewed. We have requested this and other evidence be collected before we can make an assessment on whether charges should be filed."

The San Francisco Police Department didn't return calls Saturday.

Haro said Preece and the family have not finalized the time and precise location where the father plans to issue his call for witnesses to come forward, but it will be outside AT&T Park.

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