San Luis Obispo police report details fireman’s alleged assault

June 30, 2011

John Ryan Mason


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.

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911 put firefighters waaay up the “ladder” herowise so we’ve got shock value by the ton here.. Add the photo of him with that animalistic gaze and this story becomes a “hardhitter”. If a carpenter was the assailant here it’s a non-story.

I guess the real story is the mindblowing fact that this ain’t his 1st wedding/headbashing event. Plus he ends up coldcocking the wrong guy? That one drink only brain of his has to get into a program, quit drinkin’ then off to Wasco pen long enough to get his teeth knocked out. That’s usually the best thing that can happen to bully boys like him. He’ll need a big event to get through. Then just to be sure he doesn’t murder somebody after being fired from the FD and shunned everywhere, send him to a Vet and get him fixed. That’s what you do to subdue animals.

Let’s see….what is the difference between a firefighter and a carpenter?

How about one wears a badge and is allowed access to people, situations, equipment and information that carpenters aren’t, including being able to do things like bust through doors and windows, drive over your car if it is in the call of duty. A firefighter carries authority with that badge that a carpenter does not with his toolbelt.

I agree that firefighters carry a lot of hero worship on their shoulders, but the firefighters I know (both retired) never thought that was a burden. In addition, the job they do, the uniforms they wear, the fact that they are entrusted with $millions in equipment—that supports the hero image.

Mason and alcohol do not mix well. He obviously has a tendency towards violence. Stay away from this man if you enjoy your face in the condition it currently is.

No, this guy needed a lot of people in his face from early on… he is an unrepentant bully.

I think Mason and people don’t mix well. The cab driver found him so aggressive he wouldn’t let him in the cab, and the cab driver said he did not appear to be intoxicated at that time.

“More disgusting angry violent thugs…” There very well may be a few working at stations. You see I’ve had experence supervising people in civil service. I put a significant amount of responsibilty on his multiple 1st line supervisors at the job. I find it hard to believe that the symtoms were not evident while on the job. They either were afraid of him or never vested interest enough in their employees. The symtoms, i.e. anger, gruges held, threats (Oh! Just kidding). The amount of time that a 1st line supervisor spends with the employee is often longer than the the employees spends with loved ones.

Listening to the bantering or seriousness of what happened last night at the party? This kind of attitude cannot be compartmentalized to a few hours only after work. Its 24/7. The supervisors were not paying attention or feared him.

Whoa! Flipside…dude, sometimes it’s best not to say anything. You have to accept the human psychology that is at work here and there is nothing that you can do about that. You know….preception, guilt by association. I know it’s rediculous. You would have been way better off explaining that you were a fire fighter and chastized this Mason guy up and down period, instead of some sort of defense.


I agree with you, there should be not be bad will and disparaging of ALL fire fighters because one fire fighter screwed up royally.

OTOH, fire fighters are pretty much universally revered and looked upon as heroes. With this in mind, when someone goes this far wrong, the fact that he’s a fire fighter is absolutely relevant.

My gripe about Mason’s peers is that there has been NO condemnation by ANYONE associated with him, including his chief and his peer firefighters.

Not once did I defend him nor accept what he did. Quite the opposite. He deserves everything he has coming. His colleagues don’t.

Saying nothing is the cowards way out and accepting the hyperbole that the posters on this site continue to spew is as weak as the people who criticize the organization as a whole due to one persons actions.

I agree with all that.

However, I think the spewing posters are suspicious that there there’s some kind of cover-up involved. It’s from that suspicion that Mason’s carnage is spattering you all.

Also, I would guess that the spewing posters are feeling cheated/violated because one of their Heroes got caught screwing the cat, and now they need to reconcile how that could have happened.

OF COURSE it’s ridiculous to disparage all fire fighters based on this guy’s deeds. And I would guess the spewing posters recognize this at some level, and really don’t believe all that they spew.

Condensed version: You guys just keep being heroes, and we will keep appreciating you. A little distance from the perp in this instance might help avoid misunderstanding.

Speaking out against Mason’s repeated vicious attacks of citizens might also help the reputation of SLO City’s finest.

Remaining silent implies approval, as does giving him five days to hide the evidence, including washing or discarding his clothing, scrubbing his fingernails, and allowing whatever pharmaceuticals or other chemicals he had in his blood to dissipate.

In addition, I take exception to the term “spewing.” “Spewing” is what Brigham did when he spewed out blood and teeth, after an SLO city firefighter viciously beat him to the point where Brigham now has five metal plates in his skull.

We all express our opinions in different ways. Don’t like the way someone expresses their opinion? Don’t read their posts.

However, if anyone attacks the TONE of the post instead of the opinion, they are just announcing to the world that, one way or another, they are impotent to address the opinion.

It’s like Mason…he could not address the OPINION Brigham expressed, so he beat him to the point where he could have very easily killed him. He couldn’t attack the opinion, so he attacked the person expressing the opinion.

It’s all a matter of degree, but the intent and result is the same.

If the rank and file of SLO city fire were not cowards they would be the first to speak out against Mason. Their silence speaks volumes.

The firefighters union is currently under attack by the city and a majority of the public due to way out of balance and ridicules pay and benefits and the continuing threat of binding arbitration. Add to that, the union sues the city in an attempt to stop the possibility of the voters amending the city charter and abolishing binding arbitration. Then a firefighter like Mason comes along and beats a guy unconscious in a restroom at a wedding. The police attempt to cover up the incident by not responding appropriately to the situation and making a felony arrest as would have occurred if Mason did not receive preferential treatment. Then add all the SLO city police misconduct that has occurred over the past few years. The public has had enough of the stupid antics of SLO public safety personal.

As I said before. You are judged by the company you keep. If you don’t like it, be the hero’s your expected to be and speak up against the idiots like Mason and clean house. if the union really is concerned about its public perception then it should step up and distance itself from the likes of Mason instead of keeping silent.

Guys like Mason don’t go psycho over night. Its a long road of questionable behavior without consequences eventually leading to a blow up or s series of blow ups. The question is why was Mason not held accountable for his past acts and attitude? Could it have been the repeated acts of preferential treatment that eventually lead to this vicious beating?

The way in which outrage is expressed differs from person to person.

Some express it meekly, some express it passionately.

When it comes down to it, it is all just words. Any power they have is the power you give to them.

Those who don’t like an opinion expressed, but who cannot refute the opinion, will slither on by with an attack of the poster or the tone of the post.

This is an obvious red herring, designed to distract us from what we are discussing…John Ryan Mason who has repeatedly viciously assaulted citizens, and who now is being coddled by SLO City.

Does anyone really expect people to be Milly Milktoast about this issue?

Justin, it is more than “guilt by association.”

Firefighters who work with Mason and their fire chief have not come out publicly and condemned what Mason did. Instead, from everything the public can see, it appears that the firefighters and their chief are coddling Mason and shielding him from retribution.

With that kind of attitude and behavior following the vicious assault of Mason on Brigham, it is only normal for citizens to wonder what other psychopaths are the SLO firefighters and their leadership embracing in their ranks?

I can understand how the city feels the need to “tread lightly” and not violate any employee rights as to being fired without a hearing, BUT, to keep him on duty, even if it “just” a desk job that keeps out of contact with the public at large is just plain wrong. Mr. Mason should have been suspended without pay until a hearing could be convened to determine if his off duty actions violated any city employment rules (regardless of his standing in relationship with any legal proceedings) and then IF the city charter has specific rules that govern employee actions while off duty, fire him. If his actions are found to so egregious (yeah, I know, DUH) then that could be further cause to remove him from any pension considerations. The biggest problem I personally have with this whole affair is the 5 day time lag concerning his arrest; I don’t care what any city council member says, what the city manager says, what the Chief of Police says; any other person who is NOT employed as a public safety employee would have been arrested immediately, and THAT is the real story here, at least in my mind.

Book him. Prosecute him, Fire him with no pension. Send him to prison and have him clean their fire trucks. No days off for a couple of years.

Shouldn’t take this long for an investigation to be done and finished. Fire him. Sadly, everyone who he thought would back him up didn’t! He is a disgrace and definitely casts a negative light on the SLOFD. People like that need to be weeded out. I hope his wife is smart enough to see all the red flags. With his stature I am wondering if he is a juicer? That will turn a person street rat crazy, combative, and nasty. Sadly, he probably will not get a punishment that fits the crime for the simple fact that he has already been treated differently from the get go. This is one case where suing is well warranted.

Every time I see A SLO city fire truck, I can’t help but wonder how many more disgusting angry violent thugs are on board.

Every SLO city firefighter should be ashamed and outraged by Masons behavior. It is so very true, “You are judged by the company you keep” !

As a Firefighter myself I can’t condone his behavior in the least. But even more ridiculous then his inability to control himself is your assumption that all the people who work around him are the same.

Pretty ignorant on your part.

For some , the extra responsibility that the job brings is too much to handle. Their are but a few jobs that people can have, that when they screw up, their line of work is mentioned in an article about something that happens in their private life. How many times have you heard or considered relevant a persons occupation as a contributing factor to what they did. For all the drunk drivers that have killed people or have been arrested does the media report their occupation? Typically not.

First off most repeat drunk drivers go to prison and loose their jobs and many driver occupations lose their job on the first DUI offense, so your argument is moot.

The inappropriate off duty or criminal behavior of any government employee should be known to the public. Just as a school teacher knows not to visit a S&M club, a firefighter should not have a history of going to weddings hitting people over the head with champaign bottles or knocking people unconscious in restrooms.

You want the Hero’s job and the prestige, expect to be held to a higher standard than John Q. Public. Live by example and stop expecting and accepting preferential treatment when one of the clan does something incredibly stupid.

Reread what I wrote. Drunk driving was used as an example of how things are reported by the media. Had Mason been a janitor or a county employee that holds a stop/go sign by the side of the road would that persons profession be stated?

Your response seems to indicate that I don’t have a grasp of the obvious (or you don’t). It is pretty much without a doubt unacceptable for him to have done what he did. But your premise of considering the rest of the people he works with as the same type of people is ridiculous.

The majority of people who do this profession live and act the way you and I would expect.

In the age of the internet warrior I would urge you and all who will follow in your comments to step from behind your keyboard and stop by your local fire station and meet the people you seem to loath.

QUOTING FLIPSIDE: “In the age of the internet warrior I would urge you and all who will follow in your comments to step from behind your keyboard and stop by your local fire station and meet the people you seem to loath.”


Unfortunately, some of SLO’s citizens have already experienced the firefighter warrior culture. One of these citizens has five plates in his face to show for it, too.

You must be nuts if you think anyone would want to actually put themselves in danger by going to a fire station. Since the firefighters and their chief have not publicly stated they are outraged at Mason’s actions, and, instead, appear to embrace Mason into their ranks, it is only logical to wonder how many other Masons you are shielding.

Look, pal, your anonymous “he-was-a-bad-boy” mewling does nothing to assuage our worries about our safety whenever a firefighter is near us. The fire chief knew the next morning, when Mason BRAGGED to him about it, and he did not immediately ask the PD to come arrest him and collect for forensics. The chief, and the PD, allowed 5 days to go by before they wandered over to his place to bring him in, by which time Mason could have destroyed evidence linking him to the vicious assault.

So, until y’all can man-up and reject this vicious psycho from your ranks, and come out publicly with your condemnation of his actions, don’t try to make it OUR responsibility to visit your station to get to know you better so that we won’t be afraid and angry anymore that one of your firefighters is a violent menace, and you, your brethren, and your leaders refuse to publicly condemn him.

We can’t help but wonder: if you would coddle someone like Mason, there really is no telling what other dangerous firefighters you are shielding.

First, I don’t work for San Luis City but reject the premise that all are like him. Reading comprehension is hard so I will state again what I said. I don’t condone what he did and for you to worry about your safety by going to a fire station or being near fire fighters is idiotic at best bordering on delusional. .

You show an amazing lack of understanding of what people are concerned about with Mason and his coddling by his peers and his superiors.

*I* know firefighters (retired) and they did not work for SLOCity. They are good guys and spend the majority of their retirement, it seems, doing volunteer work for the many community organizations they belong to.

When we lived in a semi-rural area, the nearest anything for our little community was the local fire station. They were so good to us and our kids. I cannot say enough about them. They let a couple of us bring our turkeys down one Thanksgiving to finish roasting because, it was raining and the wind was blowing and, right on schedule, an oak tree branch fell and there went the power.

SLOCity and its FD and PD need to hold themselves accountable for the dangerous criminal they have coddled and allowed to walk the streets, wearing a badge, for the love of God. Until then, they really cannot expect us to trust them or their safety officers, because we do not know what else they are covering up.

Mary…..have you ever tried to get to know anyone at slofd? I guarantee you they would let you bring your turkeys over to cook….it’s terrible you assume such bad things about slofd.

Dang, Bob!

Well said and I agree!

Extra responsibility that the job brings ?

You mean…Mason trying to figure out what to do with himself on his 4 days off per week?

Pretty tough duty for Amp-ed Energy MMA Mason to perform.

It’s pretty obvious that Mason has found plenty to do in his spare time. He’s been running around and bangin’ other guy’s wives!

Here’s Mason’s theme song, no doubt!!

Dude, don’t EVEN try to blame it on the job. You are really not making yourself or your fellow firefighters –WHO HAVE REMAINED SILENT ABOUT MASON’S VICIOUS ATTACKS–look one bit better.

What are we going to hear next–that Mason was toilet-trained badly and that’s why, instead of talking out issues with others like a sane person, goes on psychotic rampages and, in the Brigham incident, could have easily killed someone?

This is not Mason’s first time he attacked a citizen. Yet, here he is, still working for SLO FD. In fact, he has a desk job–or is he back in the field now? With the way he has been coddled, I’d be surprised if Chief Hines hasn’t hired staff to carry him around on a sedan chair.

If you want the public to believe that y’all aren’t ALL like Mason, then man-up and tell us publicly you think what he did was wrong and that you ALL don’t want to work with him because he is a danger to SLO citizens and tourists.

Your silence, especially after his kid-glove handling by the police and fire chief, does nothing but imply approval with Mason’s actions.

I think you are way off base; the firefighters themselves have no say in who is hired or who they work with. If you want to hold a grudge or negative feeling about anyone in the Fire Department, call the Chief and express your frustrations against him since he is the one in charge. To assume that there are “more disgusting angry violent thugs …. ” in the department is absurd. My assumption is that most are very dedicated caring individuals who would give their life trying to save someone in a burning building; what are willing to risk to help a total stranger?

Before WEEKS had gone by with no public statement by either his fellow fire-fighters or the fire chief stating their horror and disgust at Mason’s actions, I would have given the firefighters the benefit of the doubt, too.

However, the best they can do is come to a message board and criticize worried and outraged citizens who are discussing Mason and the threat he poses to all of us? and the coddling his fellow firefighters, chief, and SLO PD have given, and continue to give, Mason?

NO ONE should be shocked that citizens, including some who post here, are now assuming that the local firefighters and their chief care more for coddling mason, a danger to every citizen and tourist who wants to go out at night to have something to eat or have a drink, than for doing the right thing and, at the very least, SPEAKING OUT AGAINST MASON AND WHAT HE HAS DONE.

No. That hasn’t happened, has it? Instead, wearing the beard of anonymity, we see firefighters slithering over here to criticize citizens for expressing their fear and anger.

As long as you continue to embrace the likes of Mason in your ranks, you really don’t own the right to criticize people for assuming there might very well be more just like Mason who you are protecting.

He should never ever be allowed to use the public trust and credibility to do what he has done.

He is a liar and a disgrace to Safety Officers and the people of SLO..

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