SLO firefighter assault sparked by affair allegations

June 10, 2011

John Ryan Mason


A local firefighter allegedly beat a man unconscious in a bathroom at Pappy McGregor’s in San Luis Obispo on Saturday after an eight-month rift stemming from claims the firefighter was having an affair with another firefighter’s wife.

The incident has sparked public concern because San Luis Obispo police waited five days to arrest the suspect

John Ryan Mason, 34, a 6-foot-3-inch tall buff firefighter, allegedly followed Jory Brigham, 32, into the bathroom and beat him about the head causing significant facial injuries. As a result, Brigham, a local furniture designer, is scheduled to have a metal plate surgically placed into his head and his jaw wired shut on Friday.

Mason and Brigham’s wives are good friends. About eight months ago, following allegations that Mason was planning to leave his wife for another firefighter’s wife, Brigham publicly voiced his view on extramarital affairs.

Brigham posted on a Facebook page that it is not acceptable for a husband to walk out on his wife. Mason allegedly fired back using his wife’s account in an alleged post that has since been deleted.

While Brigham was pummeled to unconsciousness, Mason–the only suspect, was not arrested until Thursday when he was booked on three felony counts.

The delay has given rise to speculations that Mason was afforded special treatment by his public safety brethren. It comes at a very sensitive time given local police and firefighters have joined forces campaigning to convince San Luis voters to maintain binding arbitration by turning down an August ballot measure.

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. His bail was set at $50,000.

Update: Mason was 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.

Jory Brigham Facebook photo


I’m beginning to wonder — did Mason need 5 days to de-tox?



As I said in a previous post, five days would be long enough to clear most drugs, but not steroids. Depending on the type, steroids can take up to months to clear the system.

I don’t know if the PD routinely tests people who commit violent, maniacal assaults (really, I can’t get beyond him continuing to bash the victim with a champagne bottle, after the victim was on the floor, unconscious, to the point the victim received multiple fractures to the jaw, facial bones, eye [sounds like eye orbital bone structure], requiring a metal plate be put in his face. But they should.

Even if they didn’t, some of Mason’s forensically-collected blood should still be available (unless it has been discarded “mistakenly”), and they might be able to do a test now for steroids.

Of course, that would require someone with power and access to the courts to get this done. The DA, based on their “oh, whatever” lackadaisical approach to this violent assault by an off-duty first responder, may be part of the problem in getting Mason arrested in a timely fashion. If that is the case, it will take an attorney, or considerable pressure from the public, to get the steroid test done.

Why don’t we start a letter-writing campaign, demanding testing of the original forensic blood draw for steroids? To the DA, PD, FD, City Council….who else?


Mary, As far as I know Mason didn’t bash Brigham with a champagne bottle during this attack. The champagne bottle incident was an entirely different assault that Mason got away with on another citizen. In both cases, Mason did continue to bash the victim about the face and head after they were down and unconscious. This guy is a dangerous psycho and it concerns me that the guy’s from the FD continue to defend him. It’s feel’s like the FD against those who pay their salary.


Cindy, are you telling us that this is NOT the FIRST time this jerk became violent & beat someone? For sure, he sould lose his job. Anywhere else, he would have been automatically terminated.


Ahhh–thanks for the correction.

I read in another article that he repeatedly smashed Brigham with his fists and elbows. But no champagne bottle.

So was this the tavern incident that happened about a month ago where the champagne bottle was used?

I agree about the FD protecting this guy who is screwing their wives behind their backs. Are the a bunch of meows or what?


Per a suggestion/request on the Telegram Tribune blog I sent an email to Ms. Lichtig regarding the entire situation, here is her response:

I appreciate you taking the time to reach out about your concerns concerning Fire Engineer John Ryan Mason and I am grateful for the opportunity to respond. I also appreciate your patience in awaiting my reply to your email, as I needed to confer with the City Attorney before getting back to you. I know it is easy for high profile incidents of apparent misconduct to undermine public confidence, but I hope I can restore your confidence in SLO City staff and the many professionals we employ. I would like to take this opportunity to address two issues specifically: 1) the amount of time it took to arrest Mr. Mason, and, 2) Mr. Mason’s employment status with the City.

With respect to the amount of time it took our officers to arrest Mr. Mason, the priority of our investigators (police detectives assigned to the case) was to conduct a thorough investigation in order to determine the facts of what occurred. While the case may appear straightforward as summarized in news outlets, there were several potential witnesses to be interviewed, potential evidence to be collected, and a case prepared and presented to the District Attorney. The investigation was conducted impartially and without favoritism toward the suspect. The investigation led to the filing of serious felony charges by the District Attorney and the suspect was arrested accordingly. During such investigations, potential risks (including public safety, flight risk, etc.) are assessed. Potential risks are weighed against the possibility of a premature arrest, where insufficient facts and evidence to support appropriate charges can lead to a suspect being released without charges. I am confident that none of us would want this outcome, as it wastes time and resources and potentially puts public safety at risk.

To address your concern regarding the City’s actions with regard to Mr. Mason’s employment, let me provide some background regarding public sector employment so that you will have some context to why some of our decisions are made. In California, public safety employees (and most other public employees) have a “property interest” in their continued public employment, once they have passed their probationary period (one year for SLO City employees). That means that an employer must provide legally required “due process” prior to taking any significant adverse employment action. That process requires giving the employee complete information and all documents supporting any proposed employment action, time to review the charges and prepare a defense, and a full and fair opportunity to dispute the charges, present extenuating or mitigating circumstances, or present any other response. Unpaid administrative leaves or terminations are both clearly defined as “punitive” actions under applicable State law. Therefore, the City must carefully follow established procedures or risk having any disciplinary action that might be imposed overturned by a court. As we conduct a thorough and objective administrative investigation, the City has assigned Mr. Mason “desk duty” where he is closely supervised and performing productive work for the City, rather than being assigned to home.

While neither of the above processes may strike you as expeditious or particularly satisfying given your impression of this case, they are legal requirements that have been established by the legislature and/or required by the courts as a matter of constitutional law. I hope this explanation is helpful and I assure you that the City will proceed with all legally appropriate action with all due diligence.

Thanks again for sharing your concerns.

Katie Lichtig

City Manager

City of San Luis Obispo

990 Palm Street

San Luis Obispo, CA 93401


I have never felt safer and assured than here with CCN on the job, than you Karen for being the way you are.

There was a once a time I was thinking about relocating, but nowhere else is there a CCN.

Mason is only human and subject to human weaknesses, does not reflect the norm or majority of safety officers who are subject to a higher standard and/ or in theory granted greater public trust both on and off duty, almost a saint that our children can confide in.

It only takes one single felony, sexual harassment or fraud to blow it. For those not subject to a higher standard and can refrain for boozing and brawling like a bouncer, in comparison, he is allowed excuses.

Look at elected officials like Arnold who are an elite class of individuals like the rich, their “S” do not stink like the rest of ours.

And many were dumbfounded of the initial allegations because public officials typically have higher trust and credibility.

We have seen that among his peers, they try to protect their own.

I think if justice did not prevail, I would not blame the father of the girl he almost killed from taking the law into his own hands.

These people we entrust have great powers either direct or indirect are given arms to command of LE and the media in their favor to deceive us.



It only takes one single felony, sexual harassment or fraud to blow it. For those not subject to a higher standard and can refrain for boozing and brawling like a bouncer, in comparison, he is “NOT” allowed excuses.



…”According to Lt. Jeff Smith, a 911 call was made to the police department around 11:30 p.m. Saturday night to report that a man was bleeding from the mouth and nose.

Responding officers found Jory Brigham, 32, of Los Osos lying on the bathroom floor with significant facial injuries.

An investigation found that Brigham and Mason were attending a wedding party at the restaurant. According to Smith, while in the restroom, Brigham and Mason got involved in an argument. Mason allegedly struck Brigham multiple times in the face with his fist, elbow and forearm. Brigham was knocked unconscious and suffered multiple fractures to his jaw, nose and eye area.

Mason was uninjured…


Okay, Mason is psycho. He needs to be taken to ASH for evaluation tout suite. Why TF are they allowing him to be on desk duty?

How can anyone defend Mason?


IMO, in the photo accompanying this blog, Mason looks like he is on some type of stimulant.

Is he really a “gym rat,” as some have said? Could it have been ‘roid rage?

He looks jacked up on something.


He does look jacked up on something. That was my first thought when I first saw his photo. I hear that he is very buff. I wonder if it could be steroids?

I doubt that they drug tested him, cops and FD seem to be exempt for some odd reason. Something has to be done about that preferential treatment.


Well, 5 days later, it wouldn’t show many drugs. Steroids would show up–depending what kind–from a week to months later.

But I don’t know if they routinely test for steroids in violent maniac assaults. They should.


They could do a hair analysis. I think a random hair analysis should be done on all PD and FD at least once a year anyway. It’s expensive and after they pass three consecutive years of random testing, then we shouldn’t bother to test them anymore.


Ooo-la-la! You are one smart lady.


Ryan Mason was not on any drugs….he does not do drugs. You guys are out of control. Go watch some more CSI…………..


Well then, he shouldn’t mind proving that with a hair analysis. If I were him, I would be at the front of the line volunteering. What’s the problem with these guy’s not wanting to be tested like everyone else who serves the public, like bus drivers and airline pilots?

Why do they balk every time drug testing is mentioned? Do they think they are entitled to use drugs or just too special to prove that they don’t?


I see this guy at the gym all the time. He comes in with his radio and his fire t-shirt on. Puts some time in on the elliptical and leaves. I dont think he is buffed out or on steroids, he is just an #$$ hole.

Im kind of sick of this preferential treatment of fire man and police. Does anyone know how to contact internal affairs or anything like that for fireman and police?


First let’s just say that IF this guy is guilty of this felony battery then he needs to go to jail AND pay for all costs incurred by the victim. To cause that much damage to another human being is not right and he should be punished accordingly. What I like about the article are two things: the biased reporting, and how everyone somehow jumps to conclusions and starts pointing the fingers at the Police. Both issues I have come to expect here and I laugh every time. CCN should be unbiased, but to write, “a 6-foot-3-inch tall buff firefighter” is wrong. What legitimate news person uses the word “buff” to describe someone anyway??

Second, you people LOVE to jump on the anti-police bandwagon and somehow pulled them into this article. “Five days to arrest this guy is a conspiracy! Not fair to citizens! Professional courtesy! Blah, blah blah” All these comments coming from people who have NO IDEA what they are talking about. How about this: clearly this is a felony battery. This is going to be a high profile case because it is a firefighter and the public is going to spin this and bash police AND fire over this. The Police need to present a good, thorough case to the DA so the firefighter can get convicted. Presenting a good case takes time to do it right. Once the suspect is arrested certain legal rights kick in and now time is of the essence. If you wait to arrest him, the Police can build their case without worrying about those time constraints. They knew who the suspect was, where he was, and that this was an isolated incident as he was not beating people up all over town. If he did then he would have been arrested ASAP.

This was NOT favoritism by the Police. This was taking the time to build a good case against a suspect. He was arrested, jailed, and will be prosecuted. Would you rather they rush out and arrest him then scramble to present a good case, and then not doing so because they did not have enough time?? Understand that tis is not TV, the Police CAN NOT wrap up a case in one hour, with commercials! I do completely agree that, if guilty, he needs to lose his job. This type of behavior is unacceptable for all-especially Fire and Police.


Dogpound, You’re just so full of it. The average citizen would have been arrested on the spot and we all know it. How fast they arrested him has nothing to do with how fast they bring a case. Everybody knew that Mason beat this guy into unconsciousness and it wasn’t until the witnesses started complaining that the SLOPD took some action. He has been accused of violence in the past, what about the taxi driver, what about the fight he started at Motav’s last month? If he had been arrested back then, this latest assault might never have occurred.


Well, it will be interesting to see how it all plays out then. If it took 5 days to arrest him, and following your logic, then the police must have a pretty good case against him. Either that or they were pursuing every avenue they could think of not to arrest him.

I like somebody elses idea of paying him with his accrued vacation time while this is being settled. Did the Fire Department come up with a new position for him? Is he sharing somebody else’s workload? Either way, certainly not justifiable paying him a normal salary.


Well said Dogpound. Regardless, it is what it is at this point. I personally disagree with an Emergency Services employ causing an incident that requires Emergency Services (is there some kind of “hippocratic oath” for them?), and then being put on paid “desk duty” (whatever that means), but we all just need to wait and see how this plays out from today on.


In Mason’s case, “desk duty” probably means working in the office, spending the majority of his day trying to seduce other firefighters’ wives.

Why any firefighter would support this d-bag is completely beyond me. The lack of reaction by other firefighters to Mason seducing the wives of one of his peers on whom he may have to depend on for his life, is very, very strange. In my experience, this is abnormal for husbands whose co-worker seduces their wives.

Do firefighters routinely seduce the wives of other firefighters? From the lack of response, and the support from firefighters, you would think this is an every-day, ho-hum occurrence.


Nice spin Pound. People have no idea what they are talking about? All a person has to do is read the local paper and the polic e report of who has been arrested, for what and when.

As far as your fantasy land of this happens all the time (wait while I put on my wadders to get through all your B.S.) and delay is normal. PLEEEEESE……Cops go out on domestic violence all the time and I don’t read about them coming back days later to arrest the guy. They do it on the SPOT!!! Or the guy that beat the man (as bad as this) in Pismo a couple years ago. They arrested him right then!!!!!!!

This same crap (YES FAVORITISM) happened with the Chippy in Templeton 18 months ago. So where they building the D.U.I. case then??? Do they let everyone else go home and come back days later and arrest them on D.U.I. once they have build their case??

You are most likely sensitive because you either work in one of these jobs or work for the Gov. in some capacitity??



I remember that case.

Sheriff handled it administratively.

CHP administratively decided to file charges.


When the charge was filed by CHP HQ, the courts, even if the Captain admitted driving, could not legally establish DUI (driving)!

The case will result in dismisal.


My brother-in-law was an LACounty Deputy Sheriff for decades, and over the years I became familiar with the culture.

My BIL, and most of his peer friends, were basically good people who worked hard. They did mostly good, and had the freaking patience of Job.

But they were not perfect. They did some things under the cover of law that were not right. They got special treatment from other officers, as did their wives and families.


“Mason was 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” Good to see our tax payer money hard at work. Another dushe bag making money while sitting on his A#@#. While this other guy faces surgery, rehab, and lost wages. Great job City of SLO!


“Mason was 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” Good to see our tax payer money hard at work. Another dushe bag making money while sitting on his A#@#. While this other guy faces surgury, rehab, and lost wages. Great job City of SLO!


Some FD that work with Mason are saying that “he can’t keep his package in his pants”. I’m also hearing that it wasn’t a firefighters wife he was messing around with but a deputy sheriff’s wife. Since CCN usually gets it right, maybe he was having an affair with more than one woman?

He was also in a bar fight last month at MoTav’s! I think this story needs some further investigation, this guy sounds like one of those people who thrive on the adrenaline rush they get from living dangerously. Of course, they alway’s make certain that they have control of it! If everything we are hearing is true, this is a dangerous guy, in my opinion. Thank goodness, he isn’t a cop.


QUOTING CINDY: “Some FD that work with Mason are saying that “he can’t keep his package in his pants”.


As far as the weener department goes, steroids can increase sexual drive but, sadly, sometimes there is a sacrifice in the hardification department, if you get my drift. If they have been on ‘roids for awhile, they can have hardification problems after stopping taking the steroids.

If Mason is on steroids and this violence is related to it, he should not be in a uniform which carries any authority with it. I think the likelihood of him abusing his authority would be increased.


“Brigham is scheduled to have a metal plate surgically placed into his head and his jaw wired shut on Friday”

How is Brigham going to support his wife and three children?

How is Brigham going to pay his mortage and medical bills?