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Man accused of assaulting ex-wife and her friend in Fontana — and then setting fire to homes — arrested in Studio City

By in Press Enterprise on November 17, 2017

By Gail Wesson

A 37-year-old man sought in connection with an assault on his estranged wife and her male friend and several attempted arsons was tracked down Thursday afternoon and arrested without incident in Studio City, according to Fontana police.

Matthew Rice (Photo courtesy of Fontana Police Department)

While not revealing the investigative measures that helped track Matthew Rice, of Santa Barbara, Fontana police Officer Jay Sayegh said investigators knew Rice had a friend in the in the 3800 block of Vineland Avenue of the Los Angeles County city and were there when he was about to park at his friend’s house about 2:15 p.m.

When Rice saw police, he “jumped out of his car armed with a knife, yelling, ‘Kill me,’ ” Sayegh said.

Investigators pushed the car door into Rice, prompting him to drop the knife.

Rice was arrested on a variety of charges, including attempted murder, arson and burglary, and will be taken to West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga.

Fontana police said Wednesday that Rice was armed and dangerous.

Just before midnight Tuesday, Rice is suspected of breaking into his estranged wife’s house in the 8000 block of Jamestown Circle in Fontana and confronting her and a male friend, who was known to the suspect.

The suspect, armed with a shotgun, assaulted both victims, police said, but was disarmed before he ran away on foot. The victims were not identified by name and no details were released about their injuries or how Rice was disarmed.

At about 4 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, a neighbor notified the estranged wife, who was not home, that her house was flooding. Officers believe the suspect gained entry to the home and attempted to set it on fire. The home’s fire sprinklers went off.

Police believe Rice then likely stole a vehicle from the premises, according to the news release.

In their investigation, police […]    

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