Las Vegas Sun

July 31, 2014

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Court hearing set for woman charged with hospital arson, attempted murder

Kathy Priest Ritner

Kathy Priest Ritner

A homeless woman who was charged with trying to kill six people by setting a fire early Tuesday morning in a restroom at the Valley Hospital emergency room will go Monday before a Las Vegas judge.

Kathy Priest Ritner, 43, will have a first appearance/status check hearing at 7:45 a.m. Monday before Justice of the Peace Joe Sciscento.

Ritner has been charged with one count of first degree arson and six counts of attempted murder.

She is being held in the Clark County Detention Center without bail.

Fire officials said patients being treated in the emergency room for other medical emergencies were examined for smoke inhalation after the fire and the incident caused the emergency room to close for several hours.

Ritner was taken to the emergency room earlier in the morning by ambulance for a medical complaint. She was examined and released. Officials said she was seen playing with a cigarette lighter while in the waiting room.

She then went into the restroom of the emergency room, officials said, and allegedly set fire to a plastic waste container and then left. The melting plastic created a thick black smoke that was seen coming from the restroom, officials said.

When security personnel and medical staff entered the restroom to extinguish the fire, thick black smoke spread into the rest of the emergency room, officials said.

Investigators determined Ritner had left the hospital and was in the emergency department at University Medical Center, where she was taken into custody by fire investigators.

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