Updated June 23, 2022 - 1:55 pm
Las Vegas police said a patient at University Medical Center stabbed two other patients inside the hospital early Thursday, killing one.
Police Lt. Jason Johansson said the stabbings occurred at 1:50 a.m. in a secured area of the hospital where psychiatric patients are treated.
“What we know is that our male suspect exited his room into a room where another patient was located adjacent to his and stabbed that male victim,” Johansson said. “That is the victim who was pronounced deceased.”
The assailant, a man in his 40s, then began stabbing a man on a gurney in a hallway.
“That victim thankfully was able to get up and flee toward the exit door to that area of the hospital along with a charge nurse who was in that area,” Johansson said.
Both victims are men in their 20s. The man killed was described as being in soft restraints when he was attacked. The extent of injuries to the second man was not immediately disclosed, and the victims’ names had not been released as of Thursday afternoon.
“Within about a minute, security within the hospital responded to the area where the double doors are that are secured going into that area, and at that point and time the suspect went back into his room,” Johansson said.
Corrections officers also happened to be at the hospital at the time on an unrelated assignment.
“They quickly responded. They made entry into the area of the hospital where they located the suspect in his room, and they were able to take him into custody without incident,” Johansson said.
Police have not released the name of the man arrested or the charges he faces.
University Medical Center issued a statement Thursday afternoon that said the stabbing happened in what is known as the adult emergency department of the hospital. The statement also said the hospital is working closely with police.
“Our entire team feels the weight of this tragedy, and words cannot express the profound sympathy we feel for those who are grieving the loss of a loved one following this senseless act of violence,” the hospital stated. “Across the nation we have seen a recent wave of violence, and unfortunately our community is not immune to this dangerous epidemic.”
According to the statement, Southern Nevada has an urgent need for additional mental health services, including psychiatric emergency rooms, crisis stabilization and outpatient mental health services to ensure that patients receive specialized care in an appropriate environment.
“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,” the hospital stated. “In many cases, acute care hospitals are not the correct setting for behavioral health patients. Unfortunately, every hospital in Southern Nevada faces similar challenges.”
The hospital said the stabbing did not disrupt operations and all areas of the hospital were open Thursday afternoon.
Johansson did not immediately know why the assailant and the two victims were at the hospital, but he said the stabbings occurred in an area “where psychiatric patients will receive treatment such as Legal 2000 holds and such.”
People are placed on a Legal 2000 hold when they are considered a danger to themselves or others. They can be held for up to 72 hours of psychiatric observation.
How the stabber obtained the knife is under investigation.
“It appears there is a verbal interaction between our suspect and the initial victim who was stabbed in his room,” Johansson said.
By 5:30 a.m., there was little indication that anything had happened at the downtown Las Vegas hospital. The Las Vegas Review-Journal approached three people who had recently exited the hospital and none knew a stabbing had occurred. The only evidence of a crime scene at the facility consisted of a handful of police cars parked at entries on the east and west sides of the hospital.