st elizabeths

Man Killed by Fellow Patient at Saint Elizabeths Hospital: Officials

The victim and suspect had recently been transferred from the D.C. jail for court-ordered psychiatric evaluations, the Department of Behavioral Health said

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A man who was being treated at Saint Elizabeths Hospital in Southeast D.C. was killed Wednesday, and a fellow patient at the psychiatric facility is suspected in the crime, according to the District’s Department of Behavioral Health.

Metropolitan Police Department officers responded to the hospital in the 1100 block of Alabama Avenue SE at about 3:40 a.m. David Dowdell, 65, of Southeast, D.C., was pronounced dead, and 28-year-old Charles Lee of Southeast D.C. was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, police said.

Both men had recently been transferred from the D.C. jail for court-ordered psychiatric evaluations, the Department of Behavioral Health said in a statement. 

“Per our protocol, Saint Elizabeths will conduct an internal investigation to determine whether all safety procedures were followed. We are providing emotional support to patients and staff,” the department statement said in part. 

Sources familiar with the investigation said staff making routine room checks found the suspect in a room with the victim.

A police investigation also is underway. 

Saint Elizabeths is a public D.C. facility for “individuals with serious and persistent mental illness who need intensive inpatient care to support their recovery,” its website says. The hospital also serves patients committed by the court system.

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