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Suspect in custody after stabbing doctor, 2 nurses at Los Angeles hospital, police say

The three medical professionals from Encino Hospital Medical Center were transferred to a trauma center, according to a hospital official.
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LOS ANGELES — A man who allegedly entered an Encino hospital on Friday and stabbed a doctor and two nurses was taken into custody four hours later after negotiations failed, officials said.

The stabbing at Encino Hospital Medical Center occurred around 3:50 p.m., police said. The suspect was taken into custody around 8 p.m.

“We do not believe he was either looking for anyone in particular or targeting a specific individual,” Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Alan Hamilton said after the arrest.

The man had what appeared to be self-inflicted wounds to his arms and was taken to a hospital, Hamilton said.

The knife, which was around 3 to 4 inches long, was recovered, he said.

All three victims were in stable condition, a spokesperson for Northridge Hospital, which is where they were taken, said Friday night. Hamilton said earlier that one of them was in critical condition and was undergoing surgery.

A motive was not clear. The man, who was not identified, walked into the hospital under his own power, Hamilton said.

Police who initially arrived at the hospital confined the man to a room in the emergency department, and SWAT negotiators tried to communicate with the man, Hamilton said.

SWAT officers eventually used "specialized equipment that they have that limits the movement of a suspect" to make the arrest, Hamilton said. He declined to say what it was, but said it was not a Taser.

Hamilton said that the man "presented as a patient" earlier in the afternoon. He was contained by police in what Hamilton described as a storage-type closet.

Patients and staff were evacuated and officers were stationed inside the hospital to limit any potential access as a precaution, he said.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with all involved,” Elizabeth Nikels, vice president of communications for the Prime Healthcare hospital system, said in a statement earlier.

The hospital is a 150-bed medical center in Encino, which is part of Los Angeles in the San Fernando Valley.

Hamilton said the man has been in contact with LAPD officers in the past, including arrests on battery on a police officer and resisting arrest in the San Fernando Valley. He was described as in his mid-30s.

The incident in Southern California occurred just days after a gunman opened fire at a hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma, killing four people. In that case, police said the gunman, who killed himself, was targeting a doctor.