KANEOHE, HI – A safety and clinical review has been initiated subsequent to Monday’s fatal stabbing incident at the Hawaii State Hospital, which resulted in the death of an employee. Police were on the scene by 5:20 p.m. where they found 29-year-old Justin Bautista, a hospital employee, with multiple stab wounds. Bautista, who was apparently conducting routine hospital tasks at the time of the assault, was pronounced dead by emergency services shortly after 6 p.m. The suspect, a 25-year-old man transitioning back into the community, was arrested under charges of second-degree murder.
Hospital Administrator, Kenneth Luke, confirmed that the arrested individual had been a patient at the hospital and had successfully transitioned back into society in August. He mentioned that the suspect was treated multiple times for mental health issues and had responded favorably to the treatment. His release had been granted following the unanimous agreement of a court-appointed panel of examiners.
Luke explained that the location of the crime, the State Operated Specialized Residential Program, functioned as a transitional housing facility providing constant supervision to patients during the day. The suspect had lived there for three months prior to the fatal incident, during which he had earned the privilege to leave the campus temporarily. Luke expressed surprise at the event, describing it as unexpected and unprovoked.
In an immediate response to the crisis, certain patients at the facility were relocated, staffing was amplified, and non-essential functions were put on hold. Bautista had served for four years at the hospital. Luke clarified that the State Operated Specialized Residential Program functioned as a group home, unlike a hospital despite its location on the hospital grounds, and hence possessed less stringent security measures.
The suspect is identified as Tommy Carvalho in the court documents. Carvalho had been pronounced not guilty by reason of insanity in a 2017 terroristic threatening case in Kauai, per the documents. Despite being put on conditional release, Carvalho consistently breached terms of treatment and medication compliance, leading to his recurrent admissions to the Hawaii State Hospital. Ultimately, a conditional release from the courts was granted in August.
The Department of Health (DOH) is considering enhancing security measures and procedures in the aftermath of the tragic incident.