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Man charged in attack on estranged wife, a male friend in Fontana

By in Press Enterprise on November 21, 2017

By Beatriz E. Valenzuela

The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office filed charges against a 37-year-old man who police say attacked his estranged wife and her male friend then tried to set several homes on fire.

Matthew Rice, of Santa Barbara, is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday morning in West Valley Superior Court in Rancho Cucamonga to answer to various charges, including attempted murder, attempted arson, burglary and inflicting corporal injury on a spouse, court records show.

Fontana police tracked down and arrested Rice last Thursday in Studio City.

Although investigators did not reveal how they found Rice, Fontana police Officer Jay Sayegh said detectives knew Rice had a friend in the 3800 block of Vineland Avenue in Studio City and were there when he came to visit.

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.

Just before midnight Nov. 15, Rice is accused of breaking into his estranged wife’s house in the 8000 block of Jamestown Circle and confronting her and a male friend. It was later revealed the friend and Rice also knew each other.

Rice, armed with a shotgun, attacked the pair before he was disarmed, police said. He then ran off.

About 4 p.m. the following day, a neighbor notified the estranged wife, who was not home, that her house was flooding. Investigators believe Rice tried to set the house on fire but the home’s fire sprinklers went off.

Investigators then learned Rice tried to set the male friend’s home on fire, as well as the home of one of his in-laws, police said.

Rice is being held at West Valley Detention Center in lieu of $2 million bail.

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