3 patients arrested in attack on staff at Atascadero State Hospital

4 workers are hurt, including 2 hospital police officers who sustained serious injuries

tstrickland@thetribunenews.comMay 1, 2014 

Three Atascadero State Hospital patients were arrested Wednesday after they allegedly charged at staff during an attack, according to a statement issued by the California Department of State Hospitals.

At about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, two patients tried to provoke other patients by shoving furniture at the hospital. The pair was then joined by a third patient when they charged at hospital employees who tried to intervene, according to spokesman Ken August.

Four employees and the three patients were injured in the incident, which ended when hospital police officers used pepper spray to subdue the patients, the statement said.

Two hospital police officers reported sustaining serious injuries during the struggle, including two broken ribs for one officer and a possible torn muscle for the other. The other five injuries, which weren't disclosed, were believed to be minor, the statement said.

The three patients were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy, assault, battery and resisting an officer, all felonies. The hospital's investigation into the incident is ongoing.

Justin Gause, 34; Jacob Sloan, 23; and Harley Fisher, 35, were booked into the San Luis Obispo County Jail by ASH police on Wednesday, according to the jail’s online booking log.

The hospital isn't allowed to disclose the names of its patients due to federal health laws.

As of Thursday afternoon, all three men were still listed as being on an active hold at the jail without the possibility of bail.

The hospital’s statement was issued Thursday afternoon in response to a Tribune inquiry about the alleged attack.

ASH is a high-security state hospital in southeast Atascadero that treats mentally ill, male inmates from the correctional system and other violent offenders.

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