San Luis Obispo police report details fireman’s alleged assault
June 30, 2011
By KAREN VELIE
New details about a man’s alleged assault and battery at the hands of a San Luis Obispo firefighter who was angry with those who disapproved of an affair he was having are revealed in a lengthy police report.
Even though the victim and the alleged assailant disagree over who was the aggressor during a June 4 incident at Pappy McGregor’s in San Luis Obispo that left Jory Brigham with four plates in his face and his jaw wired shut, both agree that the dispute started over a short Facebook post about the appropriateness of extra-martial relations, the police report says.
Fireman John Ryan Mason, 34, started having an affair with a neighbor of his in early 2011, the report says.
On January 27, Brigham, whose wife is best friends with Mason’s wife, wrote on his Facebook page, “It is blowing my mind recently how lightly marriage is taken, and how it is almost socially acceptable to walk out on your family.”
Mason took it personally and fired back with an aggressive post that has since been deleted and the men stayed away from each other until they encountered one another at a mutual friend’s June 4 wedding.
Nevertheless, their altercation would not be the first time Mason wanted to fight someone whom he felt disapproved of his lifestyle.
Following the incident at Pappy McGregor’s, police called on Travis Mello who was involved in a previous altercation with Mason at Mo Tav in April over an affair Mason was having with the wife of Mello’s cousin.
According to the police report, Mason approached Mello who was attending a birthday celebration and asked him to discuss the affair with him. Mello said he had nothing to say to Mason and asked him to leave him alone.
Mason refused and after several attempts to get Mello to talk, Mason challenged Mello to a fight. Mello said he did not want to fight and reminded Mason that he was a firefighter and his behavior was unacceptable, the report says.
Mello told police Mason got in his face, and he shoved Mason away. Mello said they began shoving each other though no punches were traded.
Bouncers interceded ejecting both men from the bar, the police report says.
When asked by officers about the fight at the wedding, Mello asked what wedding the officer was referring to. Mello then went on to tell the officer of a 1997 Los Osos wedding where Mello claimed Mason hit another man over the head with a champagne glass.
According to several eyewitnesses, however, Mason allegedly grabbed a full bottle of champagne and bashed Al Beavers, the owner of Al’s Septic Pumping Service, on the head because he thought he was ogling his date at the wedding.
However, Mason, who hit Beavers from behind, had mistaken the unsuspecting plumber for another man. Though San Luis Obispo County Sheriff deputies responded, Mason was never arrested for the alleged assault.
When police arrived at Pappy McGregor’s on June 4, they found a bloody and confused Brigham on the bathroom floor.
Brigham told police a very angry Mason followed him into the bathroom, where he told Mason, “Let’s squash it.”
“Dude, shut the fuck up,” Brigham said Mason replied, throwing a punch. Until he regained consciousness on the floor with his wife sitting beside him, Brigham said he had no further memory.
Earlier in the evening, while at the Cielo Cantina, Brigham said he tried to talk to Mason about putting the Facebook post behind them and that Mason became angry saying he knew Brigham was “still talking shit about him.”
Mason told police a different story. He said an agitated Brigham yelled out to him, saying he wanted to talk. Mason said Brigham then called him “cocky and arrogant.”
Mason told officers his sister-in-law and her boyfriend were at Cielos and could confirm his account. However, both the sister-in-law and her boyfriend told police Brigham’s account of the encounter at Cielos was correct.
Mason’s version of the altercation at Pappy McGregor’s is also in contrast with Brigham’s and several eyewitnesses statements to police.
Mason said he was standing at the urinal when Brigham came into the bathroom and began “chirping” at him. Mason said Brigham got into his personal space and pushed him.
Mason said he felt he had to either “get my butt kicked or fight back,” the report says. Mason said he hit Brigham in the face and he fell down, probably hitting his head on the wall.
However, an eyewitness who said he did not personally know either Brigham or Mason, told police he walked into the bathroom and saw Mason acting very aggressively towards Brigham.
The eyewitness said Brigham repeatedly told Mason, “Lets not get into it. It’s Luca’s wedding. Let’s talk about this later,” according to the police report. The eyewitness left before the first punch was thrown.
Several witnesses, including a cab driver who had earlier refused to give Mason a ride because of his aggressiveness, said that Mason did not appear drunk although he seemed very agitated.
The next morning, on June 5, Mason called San Luis Obispo Fire Chief Charlie Hines and told his boss the “good news” was that he wasn’t arrested and that the “bad news” was that Brigham had extensive injuries, and he personally did not have a mark on him, the police report says.
Five days after the alleged assault, Mason was booked into San Luis Obispo County Jail on suspicion of assault with great bodily injury, battery with serious bodily injury, and inflicting great bodily injury while committing a felony.
Mason bailed out of jail and returned to work at the San Luis Obispo Fire Department. He has been placed on desk duty while the city performs an investigation.