September 17, 2015, Washington, DC — Today, the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA), along with the Iranian American Bar Association and the PARS Equality Center, sent a letter to the District Attorney of Orange County, urging for a detailed investigation and consideration of hate crime charges into the murder of Iranian American Shayan Mazroei.
Mazroei, 22, of Laguna Niguel was stabbed and killed on September 8th during an altercation outside Patsy’s Irish Pub. The authorities have arrested and charged Craig Mathew Tanber with one felony count of murder with sentencing enhancements for the death of Mazroei.
Defendant Tanber is a known white supremacist who has served time for other violent offenses. According to media reports, witnesses at Patsy’s Irish Pub stated that Tanber made several racial/ethnic slurs toward Mazroei during an altercation before the fatal stabbing.
The letter notes that, given the defendants background and witness accounts, many in the Iranian American community worry the attack may have been an ethnic or racial hate crime, and that Tanber’s motives will go un-charged.
“We are mindful that your office based its charging determination based on the evidence at hand at the time of filing,” write the authors. “We urge you to continue a thorough investigation and consider adding hate crime allegations/enhancements which accurately reflect defendant’s motive and bias.”
The letter also requests the District Attorney’s office provide a rationale on why the current chagrining decision excludes hate crime allegations as well as information about Beth Thornburg, who was present with the defendant at the time of fatal stabbing and heard making racial slurs toward Mazroei.
On behalf of the Iranian-American community, PAAIA expresses its deepest condolences to the family and friends of Shayan Mazroei. It is our hope that the Orange County District Attorney’s office will be transparent and communicate the relevant information. We will continue to monitor the investigation and report on its developments.
Click here to read the letter.