Suspect in custody after doctor, 2 nurses stabbed at Encino Hospital Medical Center
A man suspected of stabbing a doctor and two nurses at an Encino hospital before barricading himself in a room at the facility for several hours was taken into custody Friday night, according to authorities.
LAPD Deputy Chief Alan Hamilton confirmed that the suspect, identified as an adult male, was in custody. In footage from KCBS-TV Channel 2 around 8 p.m., armored SWAT officers are seen wheeling someone on a gurney out of the hospital and into the back of an ambulance as Los Angeles firefighters stand nearby.
“Our understanding is that he was attempting to seek treatment,” Hamilton said of the suspect during an earlier news briefing. “As far as we know, he entered [the hospital] under his own power.”
Officers were first called to Encino Hospital Medical Center in the 16200 block of Ventura Boulevard at 3:50 p.m., said Officer Drake Madison, a Los Angeles Police Department spokesperson.
Police sources and Elizabeth Nikels, a spokesperson for Prime Healthcare, which runs the hospital, confirmed that the victims were a doctor and two nurses.
The victims are being treated at Dignity Health Northridge Hospital Medical Center and are stable, said Christina Zicklin, a hospital spokesperson.
Before the report of the stabbings, LAPD Valley Traffic Division officers were called to a report of a possible crash on Ventura Boulevard, Hamilton said. After investigating, they determined that no crash had occurred, the deputy chief said.
“Subsequent to that incident, there was an indication that one of the people involved in a potential traffic collision had entered the hospital here,” Hamilton said. “Officers conducted a follow-up investigation and later determined that there was … no traffic collision in the street and that there were no police-related matters at that time.”
About 45 minutes later, a radio call went out reporting a person armed with a knife at the hospital, he said. Officers determined that someone had stabbed the three hospital employees.
SWAT officers entered the hospital around 5:25 p.m. The FBI was at the scene and offering assistance where needed, said agency spokeswoman Laura Eimiller.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore said around 5:30 p.m. that officers had cornered the suspect alone “in the area of the emergency room” at the Encino hospital.
“We’ve locked it down. We’ve isolated the individual,” he said.
Days before jury selection was set to start in the sex abuse trial of the head of La Luz del Mundo church, Naason Joaquin Garcia pleaded guilty to several charges.
A standoff between the suspect and police lasted for hours before the man was taken into custody.
Police did not know the motive for the attack, Moore said.
“We’re very mindful of what just occurred in Tulsa and what’s happened all across the country,” Moore said.
A gunman killed three employees and a patient Wednesday at a Tulsa, Okla., medical office, the latest in a series of recent mass shootings in the U.S.
Last week, 19 children and two teachers were killed in a shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and 10 days earlier, a gunman killed 10 people in a racially motivated attack at a grocery store in a predominantly Black neighborhood of Buffalo, N.Y.
“Law enforcement, as the rest of the public, is mindful of this spasm that we’ve seen of these horrific tragedies, and the department is committed to ensuring that we are doing everything we can to ensure the safety of the public and prevent these horrible attacks,” Moore said.
Authorities didn’t release the suspect’s identity Friday night; however, Hamilton said the man has had multiple contacts with the LAPD, including two that involved officers using force against him. The man was arrested in both instances on suspicion of battery on an officer and resisting arrest, the deputy chief said.
The deputy chief said the suspect’s name will be released after he is booked.
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