Police Say California Mosque Stabbing Is Possible Hate Crime

By Sameer Rao Dec 12, 2016

Police in Simi Valley, California, arrested a man on suspicion of hate crimes after he allegedly stabbed someone outside a mosque on Saturday (December 10) night. 

Citing local jail records, the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday (December 11) that police booked John Henry Matteson "on suspicion of making felony criminal threats, performing a felony violation of civil rights and disturbing the peace by fighting." Simi Valley Police Department’s Sgt. Adam Darough also told the Times that Matteson was suspected of hate crimes. 

Darough said that police received a call late Saturday night about a fight near a Simi Valley mosque. "During their investigation, [officers] discovered a suspect had confronted a worshiper from the mosque, and after a verbal altercation, they began to fight," Darough said. "During the fight, [the suspect] stabbed the victim." Police apprehended Matteson near the crime scene. ABC 7 reports that a second assailant has not yet been located.

The Times also reports that Matteson pled guilty to misdemeanor counts of terroristic threats and disturbing the peace in 2015. 

"It’s hard to believe that in this day and age we still have to deal with such hate and violence in our country, and especially in a place as diverse as Southern California," Hussam Ayloush, director of the Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations‘ (CAIR), told the Times.