Man dies in hospital after alleged care-facility assault, police investigating as homicide

Haley Ryan, Metro Halifax
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LOWER SACKVILLE - Police say they are looking into whether charges are appropriate in HRM’s fourth homicide of the year, after a 56-year-old man allegedly assaulted in a home care facility died of his injuries over the weekend.

Quest Regional Rehabilitation Centre in Lower Sackville on Tuesday.

On May 15, RCMP said they were called to Quest Regional Rehabilitation Centre in Lower Sackville, which houses adults with intellectual disabilities.

Cpl. Scott MacRae, RCMP spokesman, said officers learned on May 11, a 28-year-old male resident of the home had allegedly pushed the 56-year-old and caused him to fall.

MacRae said the victim, Gordon James Longphee Jr., was taken to the hospital in life-threatening condition. He died on Saturday.

“We certainly have to look at all the facts of where it occurred, why people were in the facility and that … becomes part of this investigation,” MacRae said.

“We all fear of a phone call similar to what the families received,” Brenda Hardiman later told reporters on Tuesday.

Hardiman’s daughter, Nichele Benn, is a resident at the facility and has pleaded not guilty to a charge of assaulting a Quest staff member last year.

Quest’s board chair, Ron Cooper, told reporters the 28-year-old who allegedly pushed Longphee is no longer at the facility but could not say where he is or why he moved.

Cooper said there was a ratio of one staff member for every three residents at the time of the incident, and “you can’t prevent entirely incidents like this.”

He related the situation to one where a person walking down the street passes someone in a bad mood and is suddenly pushed.

Police cannot reveal many details about the incident, MacRae said, including whether the two men were having an argument or how Longphee was injured.

MacRae said police will determine whether charges are warranted after investigators look at all the evidence, taking into account why people were in the facility.

According to his obituary, Longphee loved listening to music, going for drives and having stories read to him.

The funeral will be held in Longphee’s hometown of New Waterford on Friday.

Organizations: RCMP

Geographic location: Lower Sackville, New Waterford

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