The main entrance of Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup was locked down for hours Sunday as law enforcement investigated a parked truck for explosives, according to Puyallup police.
Two men from Edgewood, ages 18 and 24, drove the truck there about 4 a.m. Sunday with injuries from an explosion, police spokesman Scott Engle said. The 18-year-old had a hand injury that was serious enough to warrant being taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
“The injury was obvious to us that it would have had to have been an explosive device that caused the devastation to his hand,” Engle said.
The 18-year-old’s actions once he got to the hospital raised security concerns, prompting Good Samaritan staff members to notify Puyallup police, MultiCare Health Systems spokeswoman Marce Edwards wrote in an emailed statement Sunday afternoon.
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“It is important to note we have no indication that the patient’s intentions were to target Good Samaritan Hospital,” Edwards wrote. “As far as we know, the patients arrived at our facilities seeking care.”
Police saw a suspicious device in the old Ford pickup, which had explosion marks on the driver’s side and was missing a mirror. They determined that the suspicious device was what remained of an already-detonated explosive, Engle said.
The main hospital entrance was closed, and six patient rooms were evacuated shortly afterward. Ten people were relocated elsewhere in the hospital, Edwards wrote.
The hospital stayed open, letting people in through the emergency room entrance, though surgeries were delayed for a time, Edwards wrote. Normal operations did not resume until after 1 p.m.
A Pierce County sheriff’s hazardous device squad and members of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were brought in to investigate the vehicle. The truck was towed away after evidence was collected.
“At this point, we don’t believe there was any malicious intent” regarding how the truck was parked in front of the main entrance, Engle said. “This subject came to the hospital to receive treatment for his hand that had received an extensive injury, most likely from a hazardous device.”
A Puyallup police officer working near the Washington State Fairgrounds reported hearing some explosions between 3:30 and 4 a.m., Engle said, but as of Sunday afternoon police were unsure whether the incidents were related.
Puyallup police detectives learned that the 18-year-old's ex-girlfriend lived in the southwest part of town, near where the officer heard the explosion early Sunday, Engle wrote in a news release Sunday night.
Detectives found the initial explosion scene in the 700 block of 13th Street Southwest and processed the scene with ATF agents about 4 p.m., Engle wrote. The 18-year-old admitted to planning to detonate the device near the ex-girlfriend's home, Engle wrote.
Inside the truck the men drove was evidence of a detonated pipe bomb, Engle wrote, as well as narcotics.
Puyallup police had prior contact with the 18-year-old regarding explosives after a domestic violence incident during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, Engle said.
The second occupant of the truck, the 22-year-old, sustained internal injuries but was discharged from Good Samaritan Hospital on Sunday morning. He was to be arrested and booked into Pierce County Jail. It is unknown whether the men will be charged in Pierce County Superior Court or in U.S. District Court in Tacoma.
Neither man has cooperated with police, Engle said.
MultiCare Health System has owned and operated Good Samaritan Hospital for more than a decade.