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Suspect in Phinney Ridge stabbings declared incompetent, committed to Western State Hospital for 90 days

John Christopher Altshuler, suspected of stabbing two of his Phinney Ridge neighbors on Mother’s Day, has been declared incompetent to stand trial and has been committed to Western State Hospital for 90 days.

Altshuler was evaluated at the King County Jail on June 6 by a licensed psychologist who is also a developmental disabilities professional. The psychologist diagnosed Altshuler with Schizophrenia with Severe Delusions.

According to the psychologist’s report, Altshuler’s brother said he suffered a head injury in 1986, which led to a change in his behavior, including paranoia and the occasional belief that he was Jesus Christ. Altshuler’s brother said his behavior deteriorated in the last three or four years.

The report stated that Altshuler was evaluated at an emergency room in 2007 for a possible civil commitment. He was instead referred to outpatient treatment. The report says he also was seen at Harborview Medical Center’s emergency room several times with a diagnosis of psychotic disorder and delusions, where he complained that a neighbor was trying to take his mother’s house.

After being booked into jail, Altshuler was placed in the psychiatric dorm unit, where he complained that the food and water were poisoned and he refused to eat or drink. On three occasions he was taken to Harborview Medical Center for emergency hydration.

Altshuler’s next court date is set for Sept. 8, after the 90-day commitment expires. He is charged with two counts of Assault in the Second Degree, Malicious Mischief in the Second Degree, and Violation of Anti-Harassment Order after stabbing two of his neighbors when they confronted him over slashing tires between 3rd and 6th avenues on NW 74th Street on May 8. Both men were treated at Northwest Hospital and released a few hours later.

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