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UMC stabbing suspect voiced desire to harm himself, others

Updated June 28, 2022 - 10:08 am

The man accused of stabbing two people at University Medical Center on Thursday voiced a desire to harm himself and others, yet was apparently able to hide a knife in hospital bedding before the attacks, according to a newly released arrest report in the case.

Michael Earl, 48, of Las Vegas, made a brief appearance in Las Vegas Justice Court on Tuesday morning, when he waived a reading of the criminal complaint charging him with murder, attempted murder, burglary, battery and assault.

When asked if he received a copy of the charging documents, Earl said, “yeah, I don’t understand the burglary though.” Due to a conflict of interest with the public defender’s office, Justice of the Peace Suzan Baucum appointed Earl a new attorney she said could explain the charges to him.

Baucum ordered him to appear in court again on Wednesday morning.

A Las Vegas police arrest report for Earl said he’d recently moved back to Las Vegas from Montana, then was hospitalized at University Medical Center late Wednesday night. A physician wrote in hospital paperwork that Earl was suicidal and hearing voices, police said.

“(Patient) reports feeling depressed and wants to kill himself,” police said a doctor wrote in hospital records.

“He states, ‘I want to stab myself with a knife’ and more specifically to the neck,” the physician wrote. “He (is) also having thoughts of harming others without specific plan. Reports auditory hallucinations but would not describe what he is hearing.”

Police said Earl was placed in a room in an area of the hospital where psychiatric patients are treated and asked to change into a hospital gown.

“Michael placed an item underneath a folded blanket on the bed in room #2, prior to changing dress and surrendering his property to hospital staff,” police said.

Police said video surveillance shows Earl then emerging from his room at 1:50 a.m. and going into an adjacent room where another man who was also suicidal was in restraints. The man is identified in reports by his first name of Porfirio, but his last name was redacted. Video shows Earl then striking Porfirio repeatedly on the left side of his neck in a stabbing motion.

“It was unclear from the initial viewing of video surveillance whether a knife was discernible in Michael’s hand; however, this is the exact area Porfirio suffered stab wounds,” police said.

Earl emerged from the room and stabbed another patient named Fabian on a gurney in a hallway, police said. This man, whose last name was also redacted, survived a stab wound to the leg, police said.

Clark County corrections officers happened to be at the hospital at the time of the stabbings. They took Earl into custody in his room where he voluntarily surrendered a knife with blood stains on it to the officers, police said.

Police then interviewed Earl. He said he did not remember the stabbings. He did, however, tell police he “just snapped” during an interaction with the patient who was slain.

“Michael exited his room to use the restroom, when he heard the patient in room #1 (Porfirio) say, ‘Snitch,’” police quoted Earl as saying during the interview. “Michael assumed the patient thought Michael had ‘snitched’ on him attempting to remove his restraints.”

Police said Earl also “claimed not to remember hiding a knife under his bedding upon arriving at UMC,” police said.

Earl told detectives he was remorseful and that it wouldn’t have happened if he had eaten or slept recently.

“When asked if Porfirio said anything to Michael while Michael was stabbing him, Michael stated he heard Porfirio state, ‘End it all,’” police said.

Earl also told police that he was hearing voices, but they did not tell him to do anything during the stabbings, police said.

He remained in the Clark County Detention Center on Tuesday without bail.

Contact Glenn Puit by email at gpuit@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GlennatRJ on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writer Katelyn Newberg contributed to this report.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255, provides access to trained telephone counselors, 24/7. The Crisis Text Line is a free, national service available 24/7. Text HOME to 741741.