LOCAL : Social Worker Stabbed to Death

From Times wire services

A drifter receiving psychological counseling stabbed a therapist to death today at a county mental health outpatient clinic in Santa Monica, authorities said.

Robbyn Panitch, a licensed clinical social worker, was stabbed numerous times by David Smith, 26, in an attack that occurred about 10:50 a.m. during a session at the Santa Monica West Mental Health Clinic at 1525 Euclid St., police Sgt. John Miehle said. Panitch, who would have been 27 next Monday, died a short time later at Santa Monica Hospital Medical Center.

Two men at the county-run facility subdued the suspect after the stabbing and wrested a 3 1/2-inch knife from him, Miehle said. No one else was injured in the outburst at the clinic. Smith, a homeless man, was booked on suspicion of murder and held without bail, Miehle said.

"(Panitch) had been counseling the suspect for an undetermined period of time," Miehle said.

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