LAKEWOOD, Wash. — A Western State Hospital patient stomped on the head of a staff member multiple times during an assault Sunday at the Lakewood mental health facility, according to Pierce County prosecutors.
The 19-year-old man was charged Tuesday in Pierce County Superior Court with first-degree assault and third-degree assault. He was ordered held in Pierce County Jail until a competency hearing scheduled for Sept. 4.
According to charging documents:
The man was committed to Western State Hospital after assaulting a law enforcement officer in King County last year. Criminal charges were dismissed because he was found incompetent to stand trial on Feb. 28, but he was then civilly committed to the hospital.
Another patient was watching television Sunday while accompanied by a staff member, and the 19-year-old came into the room and wanted to change the channel. The staff member told the teen that the show had about 15 minutes left, and that the teen could watch whatever he wanted when it was over.
The staff member left the room, and the teen followed her. He punched her from behind and knocked her to the ground, then stood over her and continued to hit her.
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A witness pushed the teen off the staff member and knocked him over, but the teen chased after that person, who ran away to protect himself.
He came back to the female staff member and stomped on her head at least eight times while threatening to kill her as staff tried to calm down the 260-pound teen. He eventually left and returned to his room.
One witness told police he had never seen as much blood as came out of the woman’s face. Another witness asked the teen what had happened, and he told them, “She was harassing me and I just lost it.”
Officers described the staff member’s facial and head injuries as “significant,” though they are not believed to be life-threatening.
As officers took the teen to Pierce County Jail, he tried to bite one of them and then spit on him.
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