Police: Man bites off fellow mental-health patient's nose

SEATTLE -- A patient at a Seattle mental-health facility bit off another patient's nose and threw a cup of coffee in his face for "running his mouth" at dinnertime Saturday, according to the Seattle Police Department.

According to the police report for the incident, the suspect and victim were on the second floor of Navos Mental Health Solutions in Delridge around 5:40 p.m. when they got into a physical altercation.

While neither the suspect nor the victim, who have been at Navos for nine days and three days respectively, have had any previous behavioral problems, staff believes they knew each other outside the facility and the conflict stemmed from that.

According to the report, the suspect attacked the victim after accusing him of "running his mouth" and bit off a large portion of his nose. When the victim fell to his knees, the suspect reportedly threw a cup of coffee in his face.

Following the attack, the suspect was immediately cooperative with staff and went with them to a seclusion room.

The victim's nose was collected and given to Seattle Fire Department personnel, who were the first on the scene, and he was transported to Harborview Medical Center for treatment.

Officers declined to arrest the suspect, despite the nurse supervisor's demands he be taken into custody.

The responding officer argued the suspect was already in a seclusion room in a secure mental-health facility. Arresting the potentially violent and mentally ill suspect would only put officers, the suspect and staff in danger, according to the report. In addition, the responding officer said King County Jail is ill equipped to deal with mentally ill offenders, and the suspect would only be returned to Navos.

Instead, the officer documented the incident for possible assault charges and sent it to the Crisis Intervention Team for review.

Navos staff agreed to hold onto the suspect and monitor him.