Police ID suspect in attack on doctor, nurses at LA hospital
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Police on Saturday identified the man who allegedly stabbed a doctor and two nurses inside a Southern California hospital emergency ward and remained inside a room for hours before police arrested him.
Ashkan Amirsoleymani, 35, has been booked on three counts of attempted murder related to Friday’s attack, the Los Angeles Police Department said on Twitter.
He is being held on $3 million bail. It was not immediately clear on Saturday whether he had an attorney who could speak on his behalf and the district attorney’s office did not respond to an email asking whether charges have been filed.
Police have not yet disclosed Amirsoleymani’s motive and Los Angeles Police Officer Rosario Cervantes said no other information was available Saturday.
Amirsoleymani walked into Encino Hospital Medical Center in the San Fernando Valley shortly before 4 p.m. Friday, police said.
He had parked his car in the middle of a street and went to the emergency room, where he asked for treatment for anxiety before stabbing the doctor and nurses, authorities said.
Fire officials said three victims were taken to a trauma center in critical condition. Police later said one was in critical condition and underwent surgery.
KNBC-TV reports that Dignity Health Northridge Hospital Medical Center said two of the victims have been treated and released. The third victim remains hospitalized in fair but stable condition, the TV station reported.
The hospital did not immediately respond to requests for comment Saturday.
The first floor of the Encino hospital and some nearby offices were evacuated during the attack, police said.
There was no evidence that the man — later identified as Amirsoleymani — knew the victims, LAPD Deputy Chief Alan Hamilton said at a news conference Friday.
He remained inside a room in the hospital for about four hours as SWAT team members tried to unsuccessfully to negotiate with him before he was finally arrested, police said.
No one else in the hospital was injured and other patients were able to be treated, according to Elizabeth Nikels, a spokesperson for Prime Healthcare, which runs the Encino hospital.
Amirsoleymani was later taken to another hospital for treatment of self-inflicted injuries to his arms, authorities said.
Hamilton said he had a lengthy criminal record, including two arrests last year for battery of a police officer and resisting arrest.
Parham Saadat, a dental hygienist who works nearby, told the Los Angeles Times that he and his coworker ran across the street to help the victims.
“There was blood all over the floor, blood in the rooms, blood on the gurney the doctor was laying on,” Saadat told the newspaper. “It was a bloodbath.”
Saadat said he later closed a storage room’s door behind the suspect to keep him contained inside and only became afraid when they made eye contact.
“He just very calmly turned his face and looked at me through the window, then turned his head back around. No reaction,” he said. “That’s where it kind of got me.”
Benjamin Roman, an ultrasound technician, told KNBC-TV that before the stabbing, he saw the suspect, who had a dog with him and who might have been high on drugs because he looked anxious and was drenched in sweat.
After the hospital issued an “internal triage” code, Roman said he saw a doctor and a nurse who had been stabbed.
“The doctor looked (like) she was in pain,” he said. “There was a lot of blood and it looked like … he might have got her abdomen.”
Nickels, in an email, said the hospital’s staff faced the harrowing situation with “incredible courage, calmness, and dedication.”
“Their focus throughout remained on the safety of staff and patients,” she wrote.
The attack came only two days after a gunman killed four people and then himself at a hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The assailant got inside a building on the Saint Francis Hospital campus with little trouble, just hours after buying an AR-style rifle, authorities said.
The man killed his surgeon and three other people at a medical office. He blamed the doctor for his continuing pain after a recent back operation.
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