Inland Empire

‘The Scariest Thing I've Ever Seen': Man Sought in Home Invasion, Assault, Arson

The suspect is believed to be armed and dangerous

Police are desperately searching for a man who carried out a crime spree targeting his estranged wife in the Inland Empire.

The suspect, identified as 37-year-old Matthew Rice, allegedly broke into his estranged wife's house on the 8000 block of Jamestown Circle in Fontana on Tuesday night. He confronted her and a male friend with a shotgun. 

"All of a sudden, he's cocking the shotgun and trying to fire rounds at me," Robert Rapoza, a friend of Rice's estranged wife said. "It was the scariest thing I've ever seen."

Although he was armed with the firearm, no shots were fired. Rice allegedly assaulted both of them and "was ultimately disarmed," according to the Fontana Police Department.

On Wednesday afternoon, police learned that the suspect went into his ex-wife's home and attempted to set the house on fire. She was not home at the time of the incident. Police believe Rice made his getaway by stealing her vehicle.

Investigators learned that he attempted to set fire to the home of Rapoza from the previous night's assault. That man's front door sustained fire damage. 

Another arson was also reported at the home of an estranged in-law of the suspect on the 8900 block of Orange in Rancho Cucamonga. 

The suspect, who currently resides in Santa Barbara, is believed to have committed the arsons in Fontana and Rancho Cucamonga between 3 and 4 p.m. 

Rice is considered to be armed and dangerous. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to contact the Fontana Police Department at 909-350-7700. 

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