LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Metro police are investigating a homicide in the psychiatric ward at University Medical Center early Thursday morning.
Police described it as an “isolated incident” and the hospital remains open. According to early information, two patients were stabbed.
The suspect, a man in his 40s who is a patient, left his room and stabbed a male patient in a room. That man died of his injuries, according to police. The suspect left and stabbed another patient in the hallway. That patient escaped with a charge nurse.
Security responded to the scene, and correctional officers at the hospital on a separate call came to the scene. The suspect was found in his room and officers took him into custody.
“They heard the commotion and heard the call that there was a person with a knife stabbing somebody inside the hospital. They quickly responded, they made entry into that area of the hospital, where they located the suspect in his room and they were able to take him into custody without incident,” said Lt. Jason Johansson of Metro police.
Homicide detectives are working to find out how the patient was able to get a knife.
A statement released by UMC CEO Mason Van Houweling on Thursday afternoon expressed support and the need for mental health services in the county. Van Houweling also said many mentally ill patients are sent to UMC when they belong at facilities better suited to treating their needs:
UMC is working diligently alongside the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department to support its investigation into the tragic incident that took place early this morning in UMC’s Adult Emergency Department. 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. Across the nation, we have seen a recent wave of violence, and unfortunately our community is not immune to this dangerous epidemic.Mason Van Houweling, University Medical Center CEO
Southern Nevada has an urgent need for additional mental health services, including psychiatric emergency rooms, crisis stabilization and outpatient mental health services to ensure 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. In many cases, acute care hospitals are not the correct setting for behavioral health patients. Unfortunately, every hospital in Southern Nevada faces similar challenges, as we all care for a growing number of patients with acute mental health needs.
We would like to thank UMC’s dedicated team members, including our Public Safety officers, and the LVMPD corrections officers who responded rapidly to this incident and prevented further loss of life. This tragic incident has not disrupted the hospital’s operations, and all areas of UMC remain open.