Patient accused of stabbing 90-year-old multiple times

by: Mike Petchenik Updated:


ROSWELL, Ga. - Roswell police have charged a nursing home patient with aggravated assault after they said he randomly stabbed a 90-year-old woman with a butter knife multiple times.

Police said the incident happened Wednesday morning at Roswell Nursing and Rehabilitation Center on Green Street.

"It's not like he had a vendetta," Roswell police spokeswoman Lisa Holland said of 56-year-old Gary Van Zant. "He just went in there and started stabbing her."

Holland told Channel 2's Mike Petchenik when officers arrived, Van Zant was "out of control," and officers had to use a Taser on him. Holland couldn't discuss Van Zant's medical diagnosis, but told Petchenik he has a condition that can cause him to lose control over his actions.

"The district attorney advised us to charge him with aggravated assault, so we are going to take a warrant for him," she said.

Facility administrator Dianne Patterson told Petchenik staff reacted quickly to diffuse the situation and that no other patients were in danger. She said Van Zant and the victim were housed in the same area of the facility.

"We have secured everything at the building and our residents are at no risk," she told Petchenik. "There's no way of knowing what people will do from minute to minute, so all we can do is monitor and that's what we're doing."

Patterson told Petchenik the facility will work with police and state investigators.

"We have to do a full investigation," she said.

Police said the victim was taken to North Fulton Hospital with superficial, non-life-threatening injuries.

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