A horribly brutal home invasion murder might have been prevented. Phoenix, Arizona’s go-to psychiatric crisis center is much more concerned about “person-centered” and “culturally sensitive” care that “expects” patient recovery than they are about protecting the public.
The Urgent Psychiatric Care Center (UPC) knew jobless wanderer Curtis Bagley had a “history of mental illness.” Only a week earlier, they released him to camp in a park downtown. Diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic, they know his felonious criminal history is also extensive.
UPC treated Bagley when he had a psychotic episode outside the Arizona Republic building, after spending most of the past ten years in prison.
He was most recently in the pen for “absconding supervision.” That means he was meant to be under supervision in the first place. He just got out of prison on St. Patrick’s day, March 17.
On March 23, it took five hardened street cops to subdue the aggressive and hallucinating paranoid schizophrenic enough for transport to the psychiatric urgent care.
Around 10:30 that evening, “he wedged himself behind the barrier” outside the newspaper offices screaming, “I see dead people and they are going to kill me,” one of the building’s security guards relates.
When police encountered him again, eight days later, he was covered in blood.
According to the police report, at around 1:12 a.m. officers were dispatched “in reference to an unknown trouble.”
Just after a woman came home from work and entered her apartment, she heard a noise. When she opened the front door, thankfully behind a security door, Bagley was pouring gasoline on the outer door and porch.
As he lit the door on fire he said he wanted “her panties.”
Bagley leered he “was going to get some [sex] tonight” and said he had “burned things before.” She closed the door and called her neighbor. While she was on the phone, he broke in her back door. The woman escaped with the neighbor as Bagley took off.
If the police had been more aggressive about getting patrols into the neighborhood that night, to hunt for the crazed arsonist, Curtis Bagley could have been detained. Instead, in the early hours of March 31, Bagley walked through the unlocked front door of a central Phoenix home. He helped himself to a knife in the kitchen.
Joshua Fitzpatrick and his wife awoke to the sound of something being knocked over.
As soon as the bedroom door opened, Mr. Fitzpatrick was on his feet to confront the intruder. The light from the hallway back-lit the prowler’s messy hair.
“Tell me where your wife is and I won’t hurt you,” she heard. Bagley had seen Mrs. Fitzpatrick on the street and knew where she lived.
Mrs. Fitzpatrick immediately dived under the bed, dialing 911. She heard sounds of a struggle, then silence until the police arrived.
Joshua Fitzpatrick sustained fatal injuries and was found lying on the dining room floor. Paramedics got there too late.
Police arrived to find Bagley in the front yard, blood drenching his clothing and shoes. His hat was inscribed, “Give Thanks.” The obvious murder weapon was laying in the grass nearby. The suspect asked the police to kill him.
When they cuffed and read him his rights instead, he asked for a lawyer and started singing country songs.
In Arizona, he has been previously convicted of “aggravated assault, theft, burglary, and drug charges.” He also wore out his welcome in North Carolina, stealing to support his drug habit.
Along with schizophrenia, Bagley has been diagnosed with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. In 2015, the court ruled he was “incompetent to stand trial.” He had to go through special “restoration to competency” procedures before he was allowed to enter into a plea agreement.
While in jail, he picked up a reputation for “disorderly conduct, disruptive behavior, criminal damage, threatening, and fighting.”
ConnectionsAZ, Inc. believes that “recovery is possible and should be expected for everyone.” Their goal is to get every patient that walks in the door back on the street as soon as possible. “Hospitalization, when required, can be shortened with aggressive intervention,” their website boasts.
The police missed an opportunity that morning. The psychiatric center should have kept Bagley under close supervision, instead of dumping him on the street.
Bagley is now safely behind bars once again at the Maricopa County jail. Charges are murder, attempted murder, aggravated assault, endangerment, arson of an occupied structure and burglary. Bail is set at $1 million.