Courts & Law

No charges for gun-grab suspect

CHARGES WERE dropped against a man who allegedly grabbed a police rifle and fired one shot in an 2018 incident in Garden Grove (Shutterstock).

A drama that began with gunfire over three years ago in Garden Grove ended quietly Friday in a courtroom in Santa Ana.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Lance Jensen gave his approval to dismissal of a variety of charges against Stephen Eric Matthews, 36, who was arrested in February 2018 after an incident in which he grabbed a police rifle and fired one shot through the windshield of a GGPD vehicle.

The charges were dropped because Matthews successfully completed a mental health diversion program.

It all started on Feb. 13, 2018 when Matthews was 33. Formerly a resident of New York City, he was at a drug and alcohol treatment center in Garden Grove when he reportedly became unruly. 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 the next morning. No one was injured and police did not fire their weapons.


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