Man held for allegedly stabbing worshipper near mosque

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. (AP) — A man has been arrested on suspicion of committing a hate crime after police say he stabbed a worshipper near a Simi Valley mosque.

Police said reports of people fighting sent them to a shopping center parking lot near the mosque around 11:15 p.m. Saturday. Officers separated the combatants and found that one person had been stabbed.

The fight began after a man confronted a worshipper and got into a verbal dispute, police said.

John Matteson, 29, was arrested nearby, police said.

The victim had non-life threatening injuries and was taken to a hospital in stable condition, police said.

Matteson remained jailed Sunday on suspicion of making criminal threats, violating civil rights and disturbing the peace by fighting, according to a Ventura County sheriff’s website.

“We’re investigating whether or not this was instigated by (the victim’s) appearance and the association with the mosque,” Sgt. 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.”

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