Stabbing outside Sports Authority Field blamed on traffic incident, not Broncos-Chargers game

Justin Manzanares arrested on assault charges

DENVER - Police said Friday that the stabbings in parking Lot F outside Sports Authority Field at Mile High occurred not because of the result of the Denver Broncos-San Diego Chargers game but because of a traffic incident.

"It doesn’t appear that this was related to the outcome of the game," Denver police Sgt. Steve Warneke said. "It appears that this stems from a traffic altercation in which the suspects were backing out of a parking space and nearly struck the victim’s vehicle."

Three men were stabbed in the altercation. Warneke said their injuries were serious but not life-threatening.

There were reports that a fourth person was injured, but police said they haven't located any other victims.

Officers took three men into custody at the stadium. Warneke said two of the men have been released pending further investigation.

The third person, Justin Manzanares, 29, was arrested for investigation of three counts of aggravated assault.

Investigators believe that Manzares "pulled out a fixed-bladed knife from the sheath he was wearing on his belt and cut or stabbed all three victims," police said.

Police were called to the area -- at West Dick Connor Avenue and Mile High Stadium Circle -- around 9:55 p.m. on reports of a fight involving at least 20 people. When they arrived in Parking Lot F, they found the three men who were stabbed.

At least one of the victims was stabbed in the chest, according to police radio reports.

A mug shot of Manzares has not been released because police are still conducting photo lineups.

Warneke said officers do not believe the altercation was gang-related or gang-motivated. It also wasn't a fight between rival fans, Warneke said.

Warneke said it's possible the suspects didn't even go to the game.

"Folks sometimes just go and hang out at the parking lot," Warneke said.

Warneke said he didn't think any of the three people initially arrested were wearing Broncos or Chargers gear.

The Broncos lost 20-27 to the Chargers Thursday night -- the last time the Broncos will play at home during this regular season.

This is second time in three weeks that there has been a violent incident following a Broncos game.

Two weeks ago, on Dec. 1, after the Broncos played the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, a Chiefs fan was found dead in a parking lot at Arrowhead. Kansas City investigators have ruled Kyle Van Winkle's death a homicide, but said it could be weeks before they know what exactly killed Van Winkle.

Van Winkle apparently left the stadium during the Broncos-Chiefs game and went to the parking lot, where he got into a green Jeep that looked like the vehicle he came to the game in, Kansas City police spokesman Tye Grant said. The Jeep's owner found Van Winkle inside the vehicle and investigators said a struggle ensued and Van Winkle collapsed.  Van Winkle was taken to a hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

Four people were taken into custody for questioning following the incident, but no one was charged.

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