DANVILLE — A Danville State Hospital patient, charged with damaging chairs and a fire alarm at the hospital, struck his attorney in the right side of the face during a short preliminary hearing Thursday afternoon.

Defense attorney Cory Piontek said the incident happened so fast he wasn't sure how Gary Custer, 50, hit him. He wasn't injured.

Piontek had been seated next to Custer in the courtroom of Montour County District Judge Marvin Shrawder.

Tpr. Steven Geiger, the arresting officer, was testifying at the time.

Geiger jumped out of the witness stand and warned Custer he would be facing more serious charges if he didn't stop what he was doing.

After that, Piontek stood by the window at a distance from Custer.

Hospital employees then stood behind Custer, who remained seated.

Geiger showed a video of Custer allegedly damaging two chairs and a fire alarm station box valued at $1,930 on May 16.

The hospital's security department had provided video surveillance of the incident.

Also testifying was Thomas Burk, hospital chief operating officer, who said two chairs and the fire alarm were damaged.

County District Attorney Angela Mattis is prosecuting the case. The defense called no witnesses.

Shrawder sent the case to county court. Custer faces charges institutional vandalism and injuring or tampering with fire apparatus or hydrants.