The question, on page 1 of Tuesday’s paper: “Where to put mentally ill jail inmates?”
On Police Beat, page B2, the answer: in jail.
Once upon a time, a poor soul like this would have been committed to an actual hospital and gotten treatment.
Aug. 29: The milk was poisoned, the man said – so he stabbed it with a kitchen knife.
Officers responded to a report of a man with a knife at a grocery store in the 4000 block of South Tacoma Avenue. The report said the man was stabbing milk cartons and screaming.
The officer arrived and cautiously edged toward the dairy section. He saw a man crouched by Aisle 9, near a cooler. A broken jug of milk left a puddle nearby. Puddles of milk and the remnants of other containers marked a trail along the aisle.
Two other officers joined in. They took the man down and cuffed him. He didn’t resist, but he wailed about the poisoned milk. No one was listening to him, he said.
The officer asked who had poisoned the milk. The man said he didn’t know.
Was anything else poisoned? The man said no – just the milk. He’d called the health department a day earlier to send out the warning but was told all the milk was safe.
The store’s dairy manager had a wet shirt. He said the man had thrown a carton of milk at him. A broken kitchen knife sat on the floor by the dairy case. The manager said that was the knife the man had been carrying.
The manager had confronted the man to stop him from stabbing the milk cartons, and threatened to call police. Hearing that, the man had stopped in his tracks. He sank to a kneeling position, almost praying, and said nothing more until police arrived.
The carton-slasher had a prior arrest warrant for trespassing. He was booked into the Pierce County Jail on suspicion of malicious mischief and possession of a dangerous weapon.