A knife-wielding man in a Las Vegas psychiatric ward stabbed two fellow patients early Thursday, one of them fatally, authorities said.
The mayhem unfolded at about 1:50 a.m. PT at University Medical Center when the suspect left his bed and fatally stabbed a man in another room before he wounded a second victim in the hallway, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Lt. Jason Johansson told reporters.
Corrections officers, who were at the hospital for an unrelated matter, heard the commotion and rushed to the scene to detain the suspect, officials said.
The victims were not immediately identified. Police Officer Misael Parra said the fatally wounded man was 29 and the injured male is 24.
Las Vegas police identified the suspect on Friday as 48-year-old Michael Earl and he’s been charged with open murder, battery with a deadly weapon and assault with a deadly weapon.
"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," hospital CEO Mason Van Houweling said in a statement issued 11 hours after the deadly attack.
"Across the nation, we have seen a recent wave of violence, and unfortunately our community is not immune to this dangerous epidemic."
A University Medical Center spokesman declined to answer any questions about safety.
The medical center statement referred to its facility’s often being the incorrect "setting for behavioral health patients."
"In many cases, acute care hospitals are not the correct setting for behavioral health patients," the hospital said. "Unfortunately, every hospital in Southern Nevada faces similar challenges, as we all care for a growing number of patients with acute mental health needs."