CHATTAHOOCHEE, Fla. — Questions are circulating as to why the Chattahoochee Police Department responded to Florida State Hospital two days after the severe beating of 60-year-old Ruben Quinones.
The incident happened April 23rd. The police chief said his office was notified April 25th at 9:56 p.m. He said an officer arrived at the hospital at 10:01 p.m. He said that is when the police investigation began. He said it did not turn into a death investigation until after Quinones died May 4th.
In response to questions about the two-day delay of police being notified, The Florida Department of Children and Families, which oversees the hospital, released the following statement:
“To clarify the department’s response, direct care staff responded immediately to the scene and then alerted and brought in a nurse. Staff then called the internal emergency response team and the emergency response team was on the scene within minutes. Emergency medical staff worked quickly to provide medical treatment to the resident and he was quickly transported to a hospital. The priority in our response was to address the resident’s immediate medical needs.
When management reviewed the events surrounding the incident, the Chattahoochee Police Department was contacted and began a criminal investigation.”
The Agency for Health Care Administration says it is also reviewing the incident.
By: Lanetra Bennett May 11, 2016
CHATTAHOOCHEE, Fla. — Staff members at Florida State Hospital walked in on a gruesome scene.
Chattahoochee Police say 60-year-old Ruben Quinones was found unresponsive on the floor of his room at the mental institution bleeding.
The police report says Quinones’ roommate, 19-year-old Jeremiah Heywood, had beaten him.
Police say on April 23rd, hospital staff heard a thumping noise coming from inside of Quinones and Heywood’s room. When they checked it out, they saw Heywood hitting the wall. When asked where Quinones was, Heywood answered, “Over there somewhere.”
The report says the employee opened the door all the way and saw Quinones’ motionless body.
Chattahoochee resident Earnest Miller said, “I think that’s a sad thing to sit there and just beat an old person to death like that. I mean, that didn’t make sense. I don’t understand it.”
Describing Quinones’ condition, the police report says, “His head was purposely and repeatedly stomped against the tile floor by the foot of Heywood as he laid defenseless on the room floor.”
Quinones died from his injuries eleven days later.
Area resident Kaye Brown said, “That’s a very sad thing to happen. I pray for both of those families. It’s hard on the family to have loved ones in a facility like that. I just think it’s very sad.”
At this time, we do not know why Heywood kicked and punched Quinones. Police say Quinones was not a threat.
Heywood was arrested May 6th and charged with second degree murder.
Statement From Florida Department of Children and Families
The safety of the residents at Florida State Hospital and all of our state mental health treatment facilities is our top priority.
DCF involved local law enforcement immediately. The alleged attacker, Jeremiah Heywood, has been arrested and the Chattahoochee Police Department is currently conducting a thorough criminal investigation. In addition, DCF is conducting our own investigation and an internal review of safety protocol.
This year, the Florida Legislature and Governor Scott provided additional staff, security cameras, and personal alarm systems to increase safety at state mental health treatment facilities.
We will continue to put the safety of staff and residents first.