Courts & Law

Shooting suspect faces 10 years sentence

A GARDEN GROVE man faces 10 years and four months in prison after he allegedly took and fired a police rifle on Tuesday night.

The man who allegedly took a rifle from a police car in Garden Grove late Tuesday night and fired one shot now faces a maximum of 10 years and four months in state prison.

Stephen Eric Matthews, 33 – formerly of New York City but now considered a Garden Grove resident – was set for arraignment on Friday at the Central Jail in Santa Ana, is being charged with five felonies and one misdemeanor.

According to the Orange County District Attorney’s office, Matthews is being charged with one count each of:

  • assault with a firearm on a peace officer
  • shooting from a motor vehicle
  • discharging a firearm with gross negligence
  • unlawful possession of a loaded firearm in public
  • vandalism over $400.

Also, he is facing one misdemeanor charge of resisting a police officer.

Matthews was at a drug and alcohol treatment center in Garden Grove when police were called to assist. Center staff decided to transfer Matthews to another facility, and he was placed in the back compartment of a police patrol car.

There he was able to get through what police say was a defective Plexiglas barrier, remove the rifle from its lock and fire one round through the front windshield. He also allegedly used the butt of the rifle to smash the in-car computer.

After a three-hour standoff, he finally surrendered to police early Wednesday morning. No one was injured and police did not fire their weapons.

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