Summa security officer stabbed inside St. Thomas Hospital in Akron by psychiatric ward patient

AKRON, Ohio - The patient accused of stabbing an unarmed Summa security officer inside St. Thomas Hospital on Tuesday has been identified by police.

Police said 33-year-old Andrew Wallace stabbed the officer around 7:05 p.m. at the hospital on North Main Street. 

According to police, Wallace was being transferred from Summa Akron City Hospital on Market Street to Summa St. Thomas Hospital. When they arrived at the psychiatric ward on the fifth floor,  the patient pulled out a knife and stabbed the security officer—identified as 54-year-old Arthur Belcher Jr,—multiple times in the neck and abdomen, according to Chief James Nice.

Belcher was taken by EMS to Akron General Medical Center after reportedly losing a lot of blood. Police said he was taken into surgery for his injuries.

Wallace was taken into custody on a charge of felonious assault and was given $100,000 bond in Akron Municipal Court.

Police said the suspect had two knives in his possession during the incident, but it's unclear how or where he got the weapons.

Wallace was admitted into the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction in May of 2013 for an aggravated robbery and burglary. He was sentenced to three years in jail but only served 2.5 and was given post-release control until 2010.

According to a police report, in August 2014 Wallace was arrested again when officers found him with a machete hidden up his sleeve at a Streetsboro gas station. He also allegedly also tried to dispose of meth after he was transported to jail. 

Summa Health issued this statement to Wednesday:

On the evening of February 16, unarmed Summa Health Security officer Art Belcher, Jr., was injured during an unprovoked incident with a patient at Summa St. Thomas Hospital. This morning, we are pleased to report Officer Belcher is in stable condition and is expected to make a full recovery. Summa Health is conducting a thorough review of the incident.

The family of Officer Belcher extends its warmest thanks to all for their thoughts and prayers and has asked for complete privacy. We thank the media for their understanding and cooperation.

All questions regarding the person charged in the incident can be referred to the Akron Police Department. Summa Health will not comment on the care provided to that individual.

The United States Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Cleveland office released this statement on Thursday:

“Unfortunately, each year hundreds of workers are injured on the job in incidents of workplace violence,” said Joe Warner, OSHA’s assistant area director in Cleveland. “This incident should be a reminder to employers to ensure that they are taking all procedures possible to protect workers who must deal with unstable patients and other situations where they may encounter violence in the workplace.”

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