Police in Simi Valley, California have arrested a 29-year-old man after he reportedly stabbed a Muslim man outside a mosque in what detectives are characterizing at a hate attack.
The New York Daily News said that John H. Matteson is facing a number of charges after the violent incident, which took place at around 11:15 p.m. on Saturday night.
The victim and his family were leaving the mosque, located in a suburb of Los Angeles, when they and other worshippers were set upon by Matteson and another man. A heated argument broke out that erupted into a scuffle and then spilled into a nearby parking lot, where police separated the men and found the victim was bleeding from a stab wound to the abdomen.
Officers apprehended Matteson a short distance away, but the second suspect fled on foot and was able to elude police.
Sgt. Adam Darough of the Simi Valley Police told KABC-TV that the attacker's words and actions related to the stabbing are leading them to believe that the attack was motivated by religious bias.
Detectives are “looking at the way the victim was dressed and his association with the mosque,” Darough said.
The victim was taken to a nearby hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, police said. He is expected to make a full recovery.
The Daily News said, "Matteson faces several charges in the attack, including violation of civil rights — a hate crime. He also faces criminal threats and disturbing the peace while jailed in Ventura County.
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