A California man is accused of stabbing a worshipper of a Muslim mosque in Simi Valley in an attack police are investigating as a hate crime.
John Matteson, 29, was charged with criminal threats, violation of civil rights and disturbing the peace by fighting, according to Ventura County jail records.
Matteson was arrested Saturday night after a man who had been at the mosque was stabbed in a nearby shopping center, KABC-TV reports.
The victim was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Matteson ‘Confronted’ a Members of the Mosque & Stabbed the Victim After a Verbal Argument, Police Say
John Matteson confronted members of the Simi Valley mosque about 11:15 p.m. in the 1800 block of Erringer Road, police told KABC-TV.
The Masjid Al-Rasool is located in the area.
Police said Matteson stabbed one of the worshippers after a verbal dispute, KABC reports. Matteson was arrested near the scene and the victim was taken to a nearby hospital, the Ventura County Star reports.
“During their investigation, [officers] discovered a suspect had confronted a worshiper from the mosque, and after a verbal altercation, they began to fight,” Simi Valley Police Sergeant Adam Darough told the Los Angeles Times. “During the fight, [the suspect] stabbed the victim.”
The victim was listed in stable condition on Sunday, according to the Ventura County Star. Additional information about the victim was not immediately available.
2. Police Say They Are ‘Quite Concerned That This Occurred’ & ‘Want to Keep People of All Faiths Safe in the City’
Police said the investigation into the incident is ongoing.
“We’re investigating whether or not this was instigated by [the victim’s] appearance and the association with the mosque,” Simi Valley Police Sergeant Adam Darough told the Los Angeles Times. “We’re quite concerned that this occurred. We want to keep people of all faiths safe in the city.”
Matteson was with another man during the incident, but that man has not been charged, the Simi Valley Acorn reports.
“Officers arrive and when they separate everybody, through the investigation it was determined that this fight involved worshippers at a nearby mosque that had just let out after service,” Darough told the Acorn. “Some worshippers (were) walking along the shopping center parking lot when they are basically confronted by two guys. That’s when (Matteson) confronts our victim.”
3. Matteson Has a Lengthy Criminal History, Including Convictions for Disturbing the Peace & Making Terroristic Threats
Matteson has a lengthy criminal history, including multiple convictions in Ventura County, according to online court records.
He was most recently convicted of disturbing the peace in October 2016 after being issued an infraction by the Simi Valley Police Department in August.
Matteson was also arrested in Simi Valley for public intoxication in June 2016 and pleaded guilty a month later.
In November 2015, Matteson was arrested in Simi Valley on several charges, including criminal threats, and several enhancements for prior convictions, but the case was dismissed in 2016.
Matteson was convicted of making terroristic threats in April 2015. He was also convicted of disturbing the peace in that case.
Details of the cases were not immediately available.
4. He Has Battled Drug Addiction in the Past & Wrote on Facebook About Being Sent to Rehab by a Judge
John Matteson, who also goes by Jack Matteson has battled drug addiction in the past, according to posts on his Facebook page.
“Damn, i’ve got a love hate relationship. yup, and her name is Percocet…,” he wrote in 2012.
He wrote in 2010, “life pretty difficult at the moment… it’s tough staying sober!”
Matteson said that same year he was being sent to rehab by a judge.
He graduated from Culver City Senior High School in 2010, according to his Facebook page, which also contains several links to conspiracy theory websites, including to videos claiming the rapper Tupac Shakur is alive and that 9/11 was an inside job.
“It’s IMPOSSIBLE for an aluminum plane to go through steel and cement building-FACt-You can throw a can at a car all day….. it will never go through its steel door,” he wrote while linking to a 9/11 conspiracy theory video.
He wrote about “concentration camps” coming soon to America in another 2010 post.
“u must understand that they will make it so that we will demand chips in our hands n shit like that to keep us SAFE from terrorist… INTENT:PURE CONTROL- LIES – PRESIDENT- PEOPLE. Shadow government controls all aspects of life… President is CEO of U.S. Corporation. an employee of an unknown force,” Matteson wrote. “countries are soon 2 b a thing of the past- a new dark age will emerge where every1 on earth answers to 1 authority. if and when microchipped- act out of line and they turn off ur chip… cannot buy or sell without the chip. bible says its a mark but its the VERICHIP. … the masses of people will follow the government. they will do and believe whatever they are told. everyone else = terrorist to the STATE.= kidnapping, torturing us that show opposition to the NWO.”
5. He Is Being Held on $25,000 Bail & Is Set to Make His First Court Appearance on December 13
John Matteson is being held on $25,000 bail, according to Ventura County jail records. He is charged with two felonies, criminal threats and violation of civil rights, and misdemeanor disturbing the peace.
Matteson is scheduled to make his first court appearance on December 13 at Ventura County Superior Court.
It is not clear if Matteson has hired an attorney.