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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truthhurts says: “Marymalone…..why don’t you “man up” and stop hiding behind an alias and say who you are?”

Sez the anonymous poster.

I am sure the admin would be able to move all of your past comments to a account that has your real name on it, “man up” show us how it’s done.

Karen….FYI….you reference two different affairs…..there was only the one with the neighbor who is the same girl as Travis mello’s cousin’s wife.

And this thug Mason is not only walking around, but he’s still working for the fire department? The whole thing stinks of flagrant in-you-face CORRUPTION.

I wonder, is it possible for Karen to get all the emails between the Fire Chief, the Police Chief, the City Administration , and DA’s office etc…? That would really be telling…Interesting…

It’s still who ya know and/or who ya owe. And it’s more than ever time to keep a death grip on yer job which makes things interesting as hell.

Probably at the end of the day we here @ CC will be the last voice yelling for justice in this case after it’s squashed by “major” local media. Hey, what’s new? The best way to play it in a small town is don’t make waves lest you capsize your own boat. But the possibility remains this could go in the other direction. I know one thing, the pressure on all the town’s big players with more coming during trial because of this guy has them dying to dump his ass somewhere but a SLO fireman going to the joint is no decent alternative either. If the LA & SF media think it looks tasty because tracks didn’t have time to get covered plus the sex, violence and corruption here at the Happiest place on Earth …….

Any guesses on who defends him? Funke-Bilu ? God, He’d die for a hi-vis gig like that, wouldn’t he?

QUOTING ARTICLE: “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….”


I said it before, and I’ll say it again…. Mason’s agitation, aggressiveness, sexual promiscuity–it sounds like a pharmacological issue to me.

Narcissistic , I bet he loathes drug users

If this had been a fight between two suspected gang members, the police would have gone after Mason that night and would have arrested him. By waiting 5 days, all drug evidence and physical evidence is gone, possibly allowing Mason to walk free.

Tres convenient, no? Especially for a repeat offender like Mason.

I cannot understand why this d-bag has not been drop-kicked out of SLO City’s “finest” long ago. Does he have to murder someone first? Or would the City still carry him around on a sedan chair even after the murder?

Jerry Shea, you had better get this guy or we will start a recall on your butt!


For the time being, they need to take his ID and badge issued to him from a well respected agency

They need to take EVERYTHING having to do with his job away from him, including his badge, keys, access to the facilities, etc.

He is clearly a danger to the citizens and tourists of SLO. Why they would even allow him to have access to a desk job is beyond me.

I agree with the majority of what I’m seeing on this. The boys a time bomb who’s brought discredit upon his agency over and over again and I think public employee’s have a duty (probably in writing somewhere) to perform off duty as well as on duty.

I first thought this rascal was a 20’ish kid who could probably be worked with but, he’s a 34 year man. He’s so lucky his reputation didn’t preceed him as many would have put a bullet in him and be quickly acquitted I’d think.

TRUTHHURTS, well witnesses have now been interviewed. Any thoughts my contrarian friend?


So your defense is “He fell down?”

Big red…..yep and he has been charged with like 3 felonies right? Let the process happen. This is not the wild wild west my friend!

I don’t see anybody with a rope. Relax.

When I first read this I couldn’t believe that : 1) he was out of jail — sounds pretty close to attempted murder to me and 2) he still has a job and 3) he still is allowed back to work.

Okay, his lifestyle sucks… but this guy needed a lot of someones to stand up to him long ago. One bystander ditched the scene when things began to get ugly, man-up dude.

Another public employee above the law… not very cool.


Suppoedly this Ryan Mason is assigned to desk duty, so we fools are told, so I wonder why he was spotted putting out a fire on Foothill Road yesterday? First he gets preferential treatment by the police department as they let his arrest slide for 5 days for some unknown

reason, now the SLO fire department puts him back to work and its business as usual? These union brotherhoods cover for each other, they don’t care about justice or even doing what is right when it comes to their own. Unions only appear to be concerned about the rights of the worker, but its really only about control and money as they help grind this county, state and country into bankrupcy by their own greed. If the unions really cared about the lowly .worker, they should fill their fireboots from their own union slush fund and pay the $100,000 hospital and doctor bills..

Common Sense:

Are you certain he was engaged in active fire duty? Has anyone asked chief Hines for comment?

I don’t have a lot of confidence in Chief Hines at this point.

I can say for certain Mason was suited up at the burning building on Foothill Road around 6PM.


Training or not he is assigned to desk duty while there is a pending investigation into his actions.

So did he take his desk with him on the TRAINING DRILL?

From the article:

“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.”

Mason was actually bragging to the Fire Chief Charlie Hines about his altercation.

I’m assuming Fire Chief Hines must have been sympatric towards Mason in that he didn’t telephone the Police Dept. concerning this felony fight…imho…Those who MMA together, stay together…

Mason, see you at the Cruz / Faber Fight Night at the Graduate…!!!


Commons Sense: Please use some common sense and stop with the union bashing as the underlying reason for the public safety officers covering for each other; the CHP Commander that was “interviewed” by SLO Sheriff’s Deputies for falling asleep because he was supposedly very apparently drunk but not arrested had nothing to do with any sort of “union brotherhood”, it was more a “tit for tat” professional courtesy given to a fellow law enforcement officer. The union had nothing to do with the delay in arresting Ryan Mason; that was more to due with the involvement with the Chief of Police, the City Manager and very possibly the City Attorney, none of whom are members of the safety officers’ unions, and possibly the Fire Chief. If you want to have a discussion about how unions have contributed to our current financial straits, fine, let’s have that discussion in another forum, but the unions have no culpability regarding the preferred treatment of Ryan Mason as a suspect in a felony assault case.

I agree–there is no reason to blame unions for the actions of Mason, Chief Hines, the PD, and the safety officers who have remained silent, implying support of, Mason’s actions.

If ANY group of workers need strong unions, its our police and fire personnel. They are put into some pretty dicey situations, where lightening-quick judgment calls are required, and those calls are not going to always be 100% perfect.

I’m not happy with SLO’s FD and PD staff right now because of the pi$$-poor way they are handling this and coddling Mason.

But that does not mean that those who risk their lives for us don’t need union support.

If Ryan Mason was not in the union he wouldn’t be working and the taxpayers of SLO wouldn’t be forced to pay his salary and benefits. Any reasonably-minded employer would not want such a person publicly representing their business.

The fire on foothill was a training burn, not an actual emergency.

AND….is that a “desk job”? NO.

And people wonder why, at this point, there is little trust in the SLO FD.

What if a citizen had walked by and Mason would have gone into one of his violent fits?

Mason needs to be locked up. He is a threat to us all while he is allowed to roam free.

Jesus Mary. You really need to relax. For real.

Unfortunate that half the physical evidence (victim’s blood stains on suspect clothes and shoes) was lost due to a delayed felony arrest because of courtesy credibility presumption given to an off duty safety officer.

Yes, thanks to the “trustworthy” SLO FD and PD.

Mason was actually bragging to the Fire Chief Charlie Hines about his altercation.

Unless we hear otherwise, I’m assuming Fire Chief Hines must have been sympatric towards Mason in that he didn’t telephone the Police Dept. concerning this felony fight by one of his employees.