20-year-old beating suspect was moved to nursing home because he has COVID-19, says father

Posted at 6:31 PM, May 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-23 12:47:35-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Relatives of the 75-year-old man who was brutally beaten inside the Westwood Nursing Center began to suspect something was wrong because they couldn't get in touch with him and they said neither could staffers at the Veterans Hospital.

What they now know is that, for some reason, the Army veteran was taken from his apartment in Detroit to the Westwood Nursing Center on Schaefer on the city's west side.

And that is where the senior citizen was assaulted by another patient, a 20-year-old man, who was arrested Thursday after video of the beating went viral.

After seeing the video, the victim's family says they were horrified and are now trying to process what happened and gather information.

The Army veteran is now at a local hospital.

The suspect's father, who asked not to be named, said his son has mental health issues and a pending assault case in Washtenaw County and should never have been placed in the nursing home.

"He has issues and for them to put him in a facility like that, nothing good was going to happen," the suspect's father told 7 Action News.

He said his son was recently moved to the nursing center because the 20-year-old was diagnosed with COVID-19 at the University of Michigan Hospital.

The father said he's been working with Washtenaw County Mental Health Services to get his son the help he needs and that he was placed in a group home in Chelsea. But, recently, he said his son began hearing voices and that's when he was taken to the hospital and it was there he says that his son was diagnosed with COVID-19.

"He never should have been housed... quarantined with the victim that he eventually assaulted. That should have never happened," he said. "Someone dropped the ball."

The suspect's father also said his prayers go out to the man his son assaulted.

Detroit Police arrested the 20-year-old at the nursing home Thursday after they began getting information on the viral video of the beating, and investigators determined that the assault actually took place last week Friday.

What 7 Action News is trying to find out is whether staff at the nursing home even called police last week to investigate an assault on the 75-year-old victim.

7 Action News reporter Kimberly Craig repeatedly called Westwood Nursing Center on Friday to find out if they reported the attack and why was the 20-year-old suspect was still there when police arrived a week later.

A man answering the phone at the nursing home would only say that the director has been in meetings.

The suspect remains in custody.

According to the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office on Saturday, prosecutors have a warrant request and have completed the charging decision on it.

But, the request will not be formally signed and authorized by a judge until Sunday. The arraignment is expected to happened Sunday in 34th District Court after 11 a.m.

Stay with 7 Action News as this story continues to develop.