REDDING: Man claiming to be angel stabs 3, including man he claimed was devil

REDDING — A man claiming to be an angel attacked and stabbed three people – including one person he claimed was the devil – at a bar and nightclub, late Wednesday evening, Dec. 27. The attacks happened at Castle Lounge on the 1600 block of Hartnell Avenue in Redding, according to Redding police officials.

Officers were dispatched to the bar about 11:14 p.m., after SHASCOM emergency dispatchers received reports of a stabbing that just occurred at the business, Redding Police Corporal Harris explained after the violent incident and arrest.

During the 911 call, dispatchers could hear a “loud commotion and what sounded like an ongoing assault in progress,” said Harris.

When officers arrived at the scene just minutes after the call was dispatched, they found several bloody and injured patrons and employees who were physically detaining a violently resisting man.

The subject being detained, who was later identified as Nicholas Morgan Vanvleet, 23 of Redding, was handcuffed by responding officers and detained for further investigation

“Vanvleet continued to be assaultive and combative towards officers and had to be restrained in leg restraints,” Harris explained.

Officers found three people who had sustained stab injuries during the violent incident. The victims were identified as 45-year-old, Bryan Rhodes, 37-year-old, Steven McGrath, and 63-year-old, Gary Morris. All three victims are Redding residents.

Officials summoned medical assistance for the three victims and all were evaluated and treated at the scene for their various stab wounds and injuries. None of the three suffered life-threatening injuries and all declined further medical treatment at the scene.

During their investigation, officers determined Vanvleet encountered the first victim, identified as Rhodes, in the bar’s parking lot. Vanvleet reportedly “made comments toward the victim about believing the victim was the devil,” Harris explained.

Vanvleet then repeatedly stabbed Rhodes in the upper arm and chest, according to Harris.

After the parking lot knife attack, Vanvleet entered the business and told lounge employees about what happened and what he had done.

At that point, McGrath, a lounge employee, and Morris, a bar patron, attempted to disarm and detain Vanvleet while officers and medical personnel were summoned to the scene.

During a subsequent struggle for the knife, officers say Vanvleet stabbed McGrath on his wrist and the top of his head and Morris sustained an unspecified injury to his hand.

Based on their investigation and the witness and victim statements, officers arrested Vanvleet. After his arrest, officers transported Vanvleet to Shasta Regional Medical Center for a medical clearance required for booking.

Vanvleet was later booked into Shasta County Jail in Redding on suspicion of multiple counts of assault with a deadly weapon.

Other than Vanvleet’s bizarre statements before and after the incidents, officials have not released any further information regarding Vanvleet’s possible motive for the attack.

Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to immediately contact Redding Police Department officials at (530) 225-4200. Callers can refer to incident file number 17-95479 and can remain anonymous.


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Trevor Montgomery, who recently moved from Riverside County to Shasta County, runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for Riverside County based newspapers Valley News, The Valley Chronicle and Anza Valley Outlook as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident.

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations, including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center and Lake Elsinore Station, along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 27 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and has 13 children and 14 grandchildren.