Resident who tried to murder assisted living supervisor escapes prosecution

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James M. Berklan, McKnight's Editor
James M. Berklan, McKnight's Editor

The 87-year-old man who said he tried to kill an assistant living supervisor because he felt “bullied” will not be prosecuted for shooting the long-term care employee once in the stomach.

Arthur Hames died last week after being moved from the Snohomish County Jail in Washington state to a local hospital. The medical examiner isn't investigating the shooter's death, which seems to indicate it would be attributed to natural causes, according to a local report.

Hames took out his wrath on supervisor Roger Holbrook on Feb. 4, firing once or twice with a gun he smuggled into the Josephine Sunset Home in Stanwood, WA. The weapon was wrestled away and Hames was held on $200,000 bond.

However, on Feb. 15, authorities said, Hames was moved from the jail to a hospital when it became apparent he would not survive long due to failing health. Prosecutors dropped the assault charges they had filed.

According to authorities, Hames freely admitted that he had intended to kill Holbrook for alleged bullying, and then himself. The facility's CEO firmly denied Hames had been mistreated.

Holbrook, incidentally, was flown to a Seattle hospital after being shot and was released later that day. Court documents said that he was expected to fully recover.

Right after the shooting, I wrote a blog that pondered, “Who will be pronounced the bad guy in this nursing home crime?” and readers flocked to it. The query in the headline proved prescient, as comment writers, among others, argued over the cause and outcome of the shooting. While some excoriated the shooter, others wanted, and still want, an investigation into his allegations of mistreatment.

The State Department of Social and Health Services opened an investigation right after the shooting, but the status of its report was not clear on Tuesday.


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Daily Editors' Notes

McKnight's Daily Editors' Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news and issues. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor, Editor James M. Berklan, Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman and Staff Writer Marty Stempniak.