A Western State Hospital patient went on a psychotic rampage and assaulted four people Tuesday before being subdued, according to prosecutors.
The 38-year-old man, originally from Thurston County, had his first appearance in Pierce County Superior Court on Wednesday afternoon. He is charged with three counts of felony harassment, two counts of second-degree assault, one count of third-degree assault and one count of fourth-degree assault.
Court Commissioner Meagan Foley ordered the man to be held at Western State Hospital in Lakewood for a mental health evaluation, and set a competency hearing for June 6.
According to charging documents:
The man started arguing with another patient, so staff removed the other person.
The man started speaking nonsense, looked agitated.
He looked at the nurse, said something about Darth Vader, then headbutted her in the stomach.
He wrapped his arms around her, picked her up and threw her across the room. She hit her head on the ground and lost consciousness.
Hospital staff dragged her away from the man as he yelled that he would kill her.
The man then attacked another nurse, punching her in the face and trying to choke her.
A counselor came to that nurse’s defense, so the man punched him, too. The counselor ended up with a hand injury during the altercation.
After that, the man went after another patient, punching him in the face.
Two Western State security officers came to the room, and the man threatened to kill them, too.
The man was eventually restrained.
The first nurse had to be taken to St. Clare Hospital in Lakewood for her head and neck injuries. The second nurse went to St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way for a hematoma on her face and numbness on the right side of her body. The counselor went to St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma for his hand injury.
Federal inspectors were at Western State recently to review whether the facility has fixed enough of its longstanding safety and staffing problems to stay eligible for $65 million in federal money.