Four people were stabbed in the parking lot of Sports Authority Field at Mile High following the Broncos’ loss to the Chargers on Thursday, Dec. 13,
Four people were stabbed in the parking lot of Sports Authority Field at Mile High following the Broncos' loss to the Chargers on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2013. Three victims, all men, remained in the hospital. (RJ Sangosti, Denver Post file)

Denver prosecutors have declined to file charges against Justin Manzanares, who was arrested last month for allegedly stabbing three people in a parking lot scuffle outside Sports Authority Field after a Broncos loss.

"There was no one who could make a positive identification that Mr. Manzanares stabbed anyone," said Lynn Kimbrough, spokeswoman for Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey. "We didn't believe we could prove it."

Although scores of people were getting into their cars after the Broncos game against the San Diego Chargers around 10 p.m. on Dec. 12, she said, no witnesses could say with certainty that Manzanares was the one who did the stabbing. The knife was never found.

A secondary issue was that even if Manzanares had stabbed three people in the Broncos parking lot, it's possible he could argue he acted in self-defense, Kimbrough said.

"I think it's a horrible decision," said Mathew DeHerrera, who was one of the three people stabbed. "He's walking on the streets after stabbing three people and almost killing me."

DeHerrera said he was unable to identify Manzanares in a photo lineup because he was on medications shortly after surgery. He indicated a different person in the lineup appeared to have the same physical characteristics.


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"It was dark out and I didn't get a good look at the guy," he added.

Manzanares' attorney Charlie Fife said his client denies stabbing anyone.

After the game, Manzanares was backing his car out when he heard a loud bang that sounded as though someone hit his car. Then someone opened his car door and a group of men attacked him, Fife said. The attackers were tailgating near where Manzanares was parked, Fife added.

A passenger in Manzanares' car, Manuel Medina, 39, got out of the car to defend his friend, according to a Denver police arrest warrant affidavit. "They were in close proximity with each other during the fighting," the affidavit says.

"He feared for his life and defended himself until he was able to run away and make 911 calls," Fife said of Manzanares.

But DeHerrera said Manzanares threatened people before he got out of his car, and he starting stabbing before anyone struck him. He said Manzanares also had a sheath for the knife.

DeHerrera's brother, Joshua DeHerrera, 36, and Jordan Trujillo, 23, both from Pueblo, also were stabbed during what was described as a large fight in parking lot F.

Trujillo said he was stabbed from behind and didn't see who plunged the knife into his abdomen. The gash was 4 inches deep and 3½ inches long. He said he was in the hospital for five days and had to quit his construction job. He just received a $70,000 hospital bill and he doesn't have health insurance, he said.

"I feel like justice has not been served," Trujillo said.

Two other men were taken into custody and later released.

Manzanares was arrested for investigation of three counts of first-degree assault. He bonded out after spending a week in jail. He then learned that he had been fired from his job "due to all the publicity."

Manzanares, who lives in Grand Junction, won his first ticket to a Broncos game in a lottery after making a contribution to the Good Samaritan Clinic of Western Colorado, Fife said.

His client is a father of four with no criminal convictions, Fife said.

"He hopes he will get his job back," Fife said.

Kirk Mitchell: 303-954-1206, kmitchell@denverpost.com or twitter.com/kmitchelldp