HONOLULU (KHON2) — A full safety review and clinical review has been ordered after the stabbing death of a State Hospital employee on Monday evening.
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Police responded to the incident around 5:20 p.m. to find the employee, 29-year-old Justin Bautista, with multiple stab wounds.
Bautista was said to have just been performing regular hospital duties when the incident occurred. State Hospital officials said the suspect is a 25-year-old man in the process of transitioning back into the community.
“We’re told from different people there that they just heard some type of argument or maybe a disagreement,” explained Lt. Deena Thoemmes of the Honolulu Police Department. “EMS was activated. They responded and made the pronouncement of his death at 6:02 p.m. The suspect was arrested for murder in the second degree.”
The suspect, a patient at the hospital, had been at the facility before, according to State Hospital Administrator Kenneth Luke, and had successfully transitioned back into the community, most recently in August.
“He’s actually had a history of being treated on multiple occasions and did show a response to treatment. He was able to transition back into the community successfully before and on this time, once again, in August of this year, he was able to transition out,” said Dr. Luke.
He had a history of being treated for mental illness and had shown a response to treatment.
A court-appointed panel of examiners unanimously agreed that the suspect was ready to move on and be released.
The facility where the incident happened, the State Operated Specialized Residential Program, is a transitional-type of housing at which patients live with 24-hour supervision and treatment during the day.
The suspect had lived at the facility for three months prior to this incident and had earned privileges to leave the campus.
“We did not see evidence that this was going to happen,” said Luke. “This seemed to be an unanticipated and unprovoked incident.”
Some of the patients in the facility have been moved to another program to reduce the count and staffing has been increased. Anything that is non-essential has been put on pause for the time being.
Bautista, had worked at the hospital for four years.
The State Health Department provided more answers Tuesday about the incident that left 29-year-old psychiatric nurse, Justin Bautista, dead Monday night. DOH said the incident happened on campus, but in the State Operated Specialized Residential Program housing.
“The specialized treatment facility which is not part of the hospital even though it’s on the grounds is not considered a hospital, it’s considered more of a group home therefore the security procedures are not robust like the hospital,” said Dr. Kenneth Luke, Hawaii State Hospital Administrator.
According to sources, the suspect arrested in this case is Tommy Carvalho and charges are pending.
Court documents show Carvalho was found not guilty by reason of insanity for terroristic threatening in a 2017 Kauai case. Documents add, he was put on conditional release, meaning the defendant must comply with treatment and medication, but Carvahlo repeatedly violated those conditions, resulting in his repeated return to the Hawaii State Hospital. An August document shows he was finally granted conditional release from the courts.
“Before the courts issue that permission, they appoint a panel of examiners, independent examiners not affiliated with the hospital to examine, to look at the risk, to determine whether someone can move on,” said Dr. Luke.
“We’ve moved a quarter of the patients in that SOSRP elsewhere so we’ve reduced the census. We’ve increased staffing. We did what you might call the safety stand down that the operations have to continue, but anything non-essential is being put on pause,” said Dr. Luke.
“What happened yesterday was tragic and extremely saddening,” said Dr. Kenneth Fink, Hawaii Department of Health Administrator. “Our Department of Health ohana is in mourning and our thoughts and prayers are with Justin’s family.”
DOH is reevaluating enhancing security measures and its procedures following the tragic incident.