Possible Hate Crime in Stabbing at Simi Valley mosque

Law enforcement officers secure the area where they allegedly arrested terror suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami following a shootout in Linden, New Jersey, on September 19, 2016.16 An 'armed and dangerous' Afghan-born suspect wanted in the weekend bomb attacks in New York and New Jersey was wounded Monday in a shootout …

A fight involving multiple people behind the Simi Valley Smart & Final on Saturday night led to the stabbing of one man, the arrest of one suspect and a preliminary police investigation indicating the victim may have been targeted for “appearance and association” with a nearby mosque.

It was just after 11 p.m. that Simi Valley police officers responded to the fight. There they found the stabbing victim, who had sustained a non-life-threatening injury. He was transported to Simi Valley hospital.

Two suspects initially fled the scene, but suspect John Matteson, 29, was arrested after a search of the area. Matteson had sustained multiple injuries. Police attributed Matteson’s injuries to a fight with the victims’ friends. Matteson was transported to Simi Hospital for his injuries. He is local to the area.

Matteson was booked into custody at the Ventura County main jail. Charges against Matteson include: felony criminal threats, felony violation of civil rights, and misdemeanor disturbing the peace by fighting. His bail has been set at $25,000. A court date has been set for Tuesday afternoon.

A second suspect had not been located as of 9:45 a.m. Monday morning. Police described him as a white male wearing dark clothing.

Police noted that the Masjid Al-Rasool Mosque was located near where the fight occurred, and the man who was stabbed was associated with the mosque. The report did not state why, but that the preliminary investigation indicated that the stabbing victim was targeted due to his “appearance and association with the mosque.”

“During their investigation, [officers] discovered a suspect had confronted a worshiper from the mosque, and after a verbal altercation, they began to fight,” said Sgt. Adam Darough according to the Los Angeles Times. Darough said that it was during the fight that the suspect stabbed the victim.

Photo: file

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana