Man arrested for alleged hate crime

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FREMONT, Calif. — A 55 year old homeless man was arrested in Fremont early June 20 after he allegedly assaulted three passersby with a deadly weapon.

Two victims called 911 at midnight, reporting an assault in the 39800 block of Sundale Drive. The caller said a homeless man was throwing rocks at his friend for wearing a Muslim cap.

Police investigation revealed a suspect had thrown a rock at two men having a conversation in the parking lot of an apartment complex. The rock nearly missed striking one of the men in the face. The suspect then commented on the victim’s ethnicity and stated something along the lines of

“You are not allowed to be here,” police said.

When officers returned to the scene, a third victim provided officers with a statement regarding his involvement with the suspect. The victim had been walking in the area and talking on his cell phone when an unidentified object brushed against his upper body. The victim became scared for his safety and ran through the parking lot. He believed the unprovoked attack could have been due to his Kufi, a traditional Muslim hat.

The victims identified John Mata as the suspect. Officers learned that Mata was on active probation for a prior assault with a deadly weapon and had several prior arrests for violent behavior.

Mata was booked at the Fremont Detention Facility on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, brandishing a weapon, hate crime and probation violation.

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