A patient at University Medical Center in Las Vegas has been taken into custody after stabbing two other patients, killing one and injuring the other.
The incident took place on June 23 in an adult emergency room. Police were informed around 1:50 a.m. that the suspect, described as in his 40s, attacked two men in their 20s with a knife. How he acquired the weapon is still under investigation. All three were psychiatric patients, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal
The suspect, who was unrestrained, walked into the first victim’s room where the two argued before he fatally stabbed the victim, who was in soft restraints. He then stabbed the second victim, who was on a gurney, in the hallway. The second victim managed to escape his attacker, along with a charge nurse. The extent of his injuries was not disclosed.
Hospital security responded, followed by corrections officers, who were in the hospital for an unrelated matter and arrested the suspect without further incident.
The names of all three men have not been released, and police did not confirm what charges the suspect faces. UMC CEO Mason Van Houweling said in a statement that the hospital is working with police and expressed its “profound sympathy” for the loved ones of the victims.
Operations were not disrupted, and all areas of the hospital were open that afternoon. It was not explained why the suspect and the victims were there, but psychiatric patients often are treated in ERs. They may also be held there involuntarily under a process called Legal 2000, where people are considered a danger to themselves and others, reports CBS News
Van Houweling says ERs are not the correct place for these patients and that the state requires more mental health service sites. “With few of these specialized facilities in our community, behavioral health patients are frequently transported to acute care hospitals like UMC solely to receive medical clearance.”
Attacks toward patients and medical staff are becoming more frequent. Earlier in June, a man at a California hospital stabbed a doctor and two nurses
after checking himself in for anxiety. He then barricaded himself in a room for four hours before being arrested.