Anoka pysch hospital ex-patient threatens to set body on fire

A man claiming to be a former patient at Anoka Metro Regional Treatment Center walked into the psychiatric hospital Friday morning, doused himself with gasoline and threatened to light himself on fire. The incident happened in the front entrance at about 9:50 a.m., according to Anoka police.

"If he lights it how many people are going to end up being killed," said Jackie Spanjers who was working at the facility at the time of the incident. "The two people I felt the worst for were the two switch board operators who are dealing with this."

Police said the man was demanding help with housing and health care. Police were able to wrestle away the lighter, which he was trying to spark as he was taken down. He was stripped of his gas-soaked clothes and taken to Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids.

The daily dangers facing nurses and staff at Anoka Metro are so bad, Medicare threatened to cut $3.5 million in funding. The local union reported 55 injuries last year including incidents such as sucker punches, assaults and getting stabbed in the eye with a pencil.

FOX 9 INVESTIGATORS - Violent criminals mixed with mentally ill patients at Anoka Treatment Center