SANTA ANA – A man considered dangerous to children returned Saturday to the mental-health facility he escaped from a day before, according to police. He was then taken into custody and booked for outstanding warrants.
Norris Phuoc Nguyen, 23, was the subject of an ongoing search by Santa Ana, Garden Grove and Westminster police as well as sheriff’s deputies, and was considered a particular threat to children at an unnamed Garden Grove school. Police have not heard of any problems related to his time at large.
“He said he went to a friend’s house,” Garden Grove Police Lt. John Keely said. “As far as we can determine, there was no criminal activity.”
Keely did not know what the outstanding warrants were for.
Nguyen is believed to be schizophrenic and has been at a Santa Ana mental-health facility near the intersection of Bristol Street and Warner Avenue since December. He had “verbalized a substantial threat to children in Garden Grove,” police said after his escape.
“I was told that he was on good behavior and got enough points to be allowed to go for a walk,” said Santa Ana police spokesman Anthony Bertagna. “It was a group walk and during that group walk, he decided to take off.”
Nguyen had been at large since about 4:45 p.m. Friday and returned to the facility just after 4 p.m. Saturday.
In August 2011, Nguyen tried to enter the Westminster Police Department with an unloaded assault rifle while wearing camouflage fatigues. Nguyen told police he wanted to prompt a “suicide by cop scenario,” police reported.
Nguyen also began making threats toward children at the Garden Grove school he attended and police later learned of an “extensive manifesto” he had written.
Based on the manifesto, police say, Nguyen believes he is trying to “protect” the children but also wants to gain notoriety, to get the attention of the president and is “ultimately prepared to die by being shot by police officers.”
Staff writers Sean Emery and Nicole Shine contributed to this report.
By MARTIN WISCKOL/ ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
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