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Sunday, December 15, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Man accused of randomly stabbing 7-year-old boy has history of undiagnosed mental health issues

A psychologist at Eastern State Hospital says a man accused of randomly stabbing a young child understands the charges against him but cannot assist in his own defense.

Bruce Landahl, 30, underwent a forensic evaluation at Eastern in December in which Jonathan Ryan found that Landahl has a history of undiagnosed mental health issues that are likely clouding his ability to “rationally apply knowledge to his own case without distortion attributable to his symptoms of mental illness.”

Among other findings, Ryan reported Landahl has a history of drug abuse and would at times consume an average of 30 to 45 Benadryl tablets per night and five to eight tablets during the day. Landahl told Ryan he stopped taking Benadryl around the end of 2014. However, after being arrested for allegedly stabbing the young boy on Nov. 17 at a Spokane Valley gas station, Landahl told police he had taken 16 cough-medicine pills and then “felt possessed.”

Landahl further described to Ryan mixing chemicals such as rat poison and bath salts to get high, and he said he believed he had insight into “23,001 dimensions of the universe that are being taken over by ‘scientists,’ ” Ryan wrote in his report.

Charging documents describe the alleged attack against the boy as random. Witnesses told police Landahl approached the child from behind at about 4:30 p.m., bear-hugged him and told the father “I’m sorry, I’m sorry” as he stabbed him with a black knife that had a silver-colored handle.

Jacob Bush, the boy’s father, punched Landahl in the face and, along with other witnesses, kept him in place until deputies arrived. The boy was treated at a local hospital for non-life-threatening injuries. Landahl has been charged with attempted murder and child assault.

The delivery of the final report to Spokane County Superior Court Judge Michael Price on Dec. 13 spurred a 90-day competency restoration treatment program at Eastern. A follow-up hearing and check-in is scheduled for Friday.

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