Volunteer threatened SNF administrator with gun during Harvey evacuation

Share this content:

One of the volunteers involved in the controversial evacuation of a Texas nursing home following Hurricane Harvey pulled a gun on the facility's administrator after he resisted their help, according to an account reported on Friday. 

Ben Husser was among the volunteers who traveled to Lake Arthur Place in Port Arthur, TX, by boat to carry out a rescue effort after the facility flooded. Husser told Lake Arthur Place Administrator Jeff Rosetta he was with the “Cajun Navy” and had come to evacuate residents, the Los Angeles Times reported. 

Rosetta, whose cell phone records were included in a restraining order filed against the provider last month after the hurricane, reportedly told Husser he could allow only the National Guard to evacuate residents. Things then turned physical, Husser said.

Andrea Coleman, director of nursing for the facility, later told authorities she came into Rosetta's office to find him with a ripped shirt, cuts on his head and a bloody eye, being yelled at by volunteers. Husser reportedly pushed Coleman, a claim he denies. 

“We cannot just turn over our residents to anyone,” Coleman said in her statement to police. “We have a responsibility to them and procedures that have to be followed. I was hesitant to let our residents go with the Cajun Navy after the behavior Ben displayed." 

Husser then reportedly pointed a gun at Rosetta, thinking that he also had a weapon. He holstered the gun when he saw that Rosetta was unarmed, according to the Times, but Husser reportedly said he doesn't regret his decision to draw the weapon.

“You're damn right I did, but it was strictly because he was in a tirade, screaming and hollering,” Husser said.

Andrew Kerr, president of Senior Care Centers, which operates Lake Arthur Place, said in a statement to McKnight's Long-Term Care News that the provider is cooperating with authorities in the investigation of the evacuation. Kerr also cited the "sensitive nature" of the incident in explaining why the provider chose not to elaborate on the details of the evacuation in its account beyond saying residents were "forcibly removed."

"We are pleased that the facts of the forced evacuation have come to light in [the Los Angeles Times] article, as well as how the whole community — including the local authorities — were overwhelmed by this unforeseen catastrophic event. We sheltered in place as the local authorities instructed," the Kerr said. "Our patients' and residents' safety and well-being remains our highest priority, and we will continue to make the best judgment call we can when choosing to evacuate or shelter in place during emergency situations like this in the future."