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Retired Las Vegas detective speaks on UMC stabbing

Posted at 4:09 PM, Jun 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-23 20:47:57-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — How did a patient get a hold of a knife?

That’s a question being asked as the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department continues to investigate a fatal stabbing at valley hospital early Thursday morning.

A frightening moment at UMC Hospital when a patient in the psych ward stabbed two other patients, killing one. LVMPD saying this all happened in a secure area of the hospital. Retired LVMPD Detective Phil DiPalma says these secure areas are supposed to help contain a potential threat.

"There's no sharp objects. There's nothing that can harm that person or another individual,” he said.

RELATED STORY: 1 dead, 1 injured in stabbing at University Medical Center

Investigators are trying to determine how the suspect, described as a man in his 40's, got a knife. DiPalma says in a secure facility a search would have been done when admitted to ensure a psych patient had nothing to hurt anyone.

"To have someone come in there with a weapon that could do more damage especially, when that individual is maybe not well or in the right state of mind,” he said.

UMC Hospital released a statement saying in part:

"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."

It went on to say Southern Nevada has an urgent need for more mental health services and specialized facilities, saying quote:

"…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."

The two male victims were both patients in the psych ward and in their 20's. The one man who was killed was in soft restraints at the time of the attack.

Police have not yet released the identity of the accused stabber or the patient that was killed.