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Mental patient who threatened elementary school back in custody

May 04, 2013|By Jason Felch

A mentally ill man who had threatened to terrorize a Garden Grove elementary school was back in custody Saturday night, about 24 hours after escaping from his Santa Ana mental health facility, officials said.

Norris Phuoc Nguyen, 23, escaped Friday afternoon from Royale Health Care Center at Bristol Street and Warner Avenue, where he was being treated for various mental health issues, authorities said. Nguyen had earlier said he intended to take “total control” of an elementary school in Garden Grove, targeting children and a specific teacher.

About 4 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, Nguyen returned the facility voluntarily, saying he had been at a friend's house, authorities said.

"Garden Grove police investigators interviewed Nguyen and at this time it does not appear that he committed any crimes while away from the facility," said Garden Grove police Lt. John Keely in a statement Saturday evening. 

Nguyen's escape left the community on edge, with police warning that there was a "very strong potential" he would act on his previous threats, which he had detailed in vivid manifestos.

It was not Nguyen's first run-in with police. In August 2011, he went to the Westminster Police Department dressed in camouflage and carrying an unloaded assault rifle and said he wanted to "die by cop."

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Twitter: @jasonfelch | Google+

jason.felch@latimes.com

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