Police search for man at center of clinic closure

Police are still trying to contact a man who threatened to harm people at a Juneau behavioral health unit Thursday afternoon.

A 55-year-old Juneau man walked into the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) at 3:45 p.m. Thursday seeking treatment. After he was told his provider was with another patient, he became angry and said he would return with weapons, according to a statement released by a SEARHC spokeswoman.

Public relations specialist Stacy Smith wrote that the man yelled profanities for several minutes and mentioned bombs he had available at his home.

“As this incident was considered a credible threat, the patients and employees… were evacuated from the building. The evacuation took between 5-7 minutes, and SEARHC staff escorted individuals to their vehicles,” Smith wrote.

Juneau Police Department officers searched near the 1046 Salmon Creek Lane building after the incident but were unable to locate the man, according to a news release by the department. Police say the man has issued similar threats in the past but has not acted upon them.

Donna Bach, SEARHC’s director of marketing and public relations, said the campus is open today and appointments will be kept, but the exterior doors at the behavioral health building will remain locked.

“We are exercising our internal mechanisms to avert any sort of threat,” Bach said. “Our employees are encouraged to follow the safety procedures in place to reduce any harm or incident.”

The SEARHC campus, which includes behavioral health, dental, the Ethel Lund Medical Center and administrative offices in the Juneau Empire building are on high alert but continue to perform routine operations.

Bach said the campuses security director and front desk staff all know who the man is and have been prepped on what to do if he is seen.

Because of strict health privacy laws, Bach said SEARHC is using extreme sensitivity while handling this matter and are relying on internal protocols.

JPD Lt. Kris Sell said officers are continuing interviews today with people who work at SEARHC and will continue to investigate the matter.

• Contact reporter Paula Ann Solis at 523-2272 or paula.solis@juneauempire.com.

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