Mental Health Mayhem in Luzerne County
KINGSTON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Eyewitness News was the only television news station on the scene Saturday night as the chaos unfolded at First hospital in Kingston.
Eyewitness News now takes a closer look at the events that put staff and patients at risk.
“We’re getting a report 562 Wyoming Avenue the First Hospital, the youth wing for a riot in progress. 14 kids attacking the staff,” the 911 dispatcher says.
That chilling dispatch from Luzerne County 911 sent police racing to First Hospital in Kingston, Saturday night just before 8:30. Luzerne County District Attorney Sam Sanguedolce says the uprising followed what started earlier in the evening as a small altercation.
“It developed into pretty much a full-blown riot,” said Luzerne County District Attorney, Sam Sanguedolce.
“The caller you can hear them on the line. It sounds like it is coming from the staff. They are barricaded in a room,” the dispatcher said, recovered courtesy of BROADCASTIFY.
Concerns also existed as the patients involved in the riot were grabbing anything they could to use as weapons against the staff who tried to shield themselves from being assaulted.
An authority figure asks, “County, you still in contact with them inside? They’re safe inside of a room?”
“Negative, we were just advised through a caller they were busting through the door and he had to go and the line disconnected,” the dispatcher says.
Police on scene sized up the situation to determine exactly what they were dealing with.
“How about seeing if you could send a couple of Wilkes-Barre City officers over. We’re still kind of outmatched here,” said an authority figure.
They pinpointed the problem on the third floor and then, with enough responding officers, moved in.
“Okay, we’ve regained control of the floor. People that need to be in custody are in custody, I need at least two ambulances here to check on staff members. One reportedly went downstairs, they’re trying to locate him now, possible head injury. And then one of the non-fighting juveniles also needs an ambulance,” the officer in charge stated.
In total, five people were taken to the hospital with injuries described on the scene as not life-threatening.
“Some of it was head trauma. Two of them were staff members. Three of them were, in fact, patients,” said D.A. Sanguedolce.
“Hey, I’m gonna be famous. [expletive] my [expletive], world,” said a male juvenile.
Two patients were taken away in handcuffs while others were being interviewed about their potential role in the riot.
“There’s a considerable amount of damage but, in very short time the Kingston Police managed to get the situation under control,” said D.A. Sanguedolce.
The District Attorney told Eyewitness News there is no additional information at this time and that the investigation will resume Monday.
Annmarie Poslock, VP of Marketing and Communications for Commonwealth Health released a statement saying, “We appreciate the timely response and support from first responders during an incident last evening. Individuals taken to the hospital have all been medically cleared.”