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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary | The Local Review

Mental Patient Arrested in Assault at Hospital

November 19, 1998

NORWALK — One patient was injured and another arrested after an assault in the heavily guarded compound for mentally ill criminal offenders at Metropolitan State Hospital in Norwalk, the hospital said.

Hospital authorities did not release the names of the two men involved in the fight, which occurred Monday.

The injured patient, who is 43, received head injuries and is expected to recover, said Cathy Bernarding, a spokeswoman for the hospital.

The suspect, 49, was immediately arrested and taken to the county jail.

Metropolitan, although one of the state's oldest psychiatric hospitals, only began taking criminal offenders in 1995 because of overcrowding at other hospitals housing mentally ill criminals.

In response to an outcry by Norwalk residents, the state has limited patients in the penal code wing to offenders who are not considered violent or a danger to others. This is the first time an inmate has been arrested for an assault since the wing was opened, said Bernarding.

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