At around 11:10 a.m. on Wednesday, security and Missoula Police officers were dispatched to the St. Patrick’s Hospital Emergency Room for a disturbance with a knife. Police Public Information Officer Lydia Arnold explains.

“Officers responded to the 500 block of West Broadway for a report of a male with a knife,” Arnold said. “On scene, officers observed and learned that the male suspect, 31-year-old Mitchell Bell, was a patient at St. Pat’s Hospital when he brandished a knife towards hospital staff. Bell complied with officer’s commands and was taken into custody without incident. There were no reported injuries during the encounter.”

Court documents indicate officers spoke with the initial victim who was Bell's nurse. She said that Bell had been brought in earlier by EMS for drug related issues. She was working at her desk when he walked out of his room and into a supply room across the hall. She walked over to check on him and when she looked into the room, he was holding a knife towards her and started walking out towards her. As he walked towards her, he told her he "wanted to get out of here." She backed up and he turned to walk the other direction.

The officer then spoke with another victim who was working as a tech in the room next to Bell's. The victim said he heard the commotion and came out to see what was happening. He stated he was standing right next to Bell’s nurse when Bell came walking towards them with the knife. Bell was saying that he wanted to get out of the hospital and the victim said, "there's the door, get out of here," while gesturing towards the exit. Bell did not leave out the exit door but continued down a hallway that leads towards other rooms. The victim said he was concerned that Bell would go into other patients' rooms and possibly harm them.

A second officer responded and spoke to the third victim who was working his normal duties as a student staff member of the Emergency room. He also saw Bell exit his room and cross the hallway into the storage room. When he and other employees approached the storage room, Bell exited with a knife in hand. He said Bell placed the knife above his head in a threatening manner before approaching the staff.

He said Bell then turned and ran out into the hallway. For the fear of other patients in the hospital, he and other staff began to follow Bell. Once in the hallway, Bell again charged towards him and other staff with the knife in hand. At this time, St. Pat's security arrived on scene and they were successful in their de-escalation of the incident. Bell was taken into custody and charged with three counts of felony assault with a weapon.

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