USA

Paraplegic nursing home resident charged in fatal shooting at Homewood long-term care facility

A 32-year-old resident of a long-term care facility in Homewood was charged Sunday in the shooting death of another resident.

Maurice McMullen, who is paralyzed from the waist down and uses a wheelchair, is charged with killing William H. Foster, 77, early Saturday morning at the South Suburban Rehabilitation Center, police said.

Maurice McMullen, 32

Maurice McMullen, 32 (Cook County sheriff's office)

He appeared in bond court Sunday and was ordered held without bond, court records show.

Homewood police responded to a report of shots fired at the skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility, 19000 Halsted Street, just after 3 a.m. Saturday and learned a resident had been shot, police said in a statement.

The victim, later identified as Foster, was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where he died a short time later.

McMullen was taken into custody at the rehabilitation center following the shooting and charged the next day.

Homewood police declined to release any further information about the shooting, so it’s not clear what motivated it or where at the rehabilitation center it occurred.

The facility’s administrator did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the shooting.

Illinois Department of Public Health spokeswoman Melaney Arnold said the Nursing Home Care Act does not specifically address weapons at long-term care facilities, but that individual facilities are required to enact policies to keep residents safe.

Such policies may dictate whether residents or staff can leave the facility and return with a firearm or include written contracts with residents prohibiting them from bringing firearms onto the property, she said.

An employee code of conduct on South Suburban Rehabilitation Center’s website does not address the permissibility of weapons on the premises and the consulting firm that wrote the policy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Illinois law prohibits anyone from carrying a concealed weapon into a nursing home.

It’s not clear how McMullen, a convicted felon, gained access to a weapon nor whether employees of the rehabilitation center knew he possessed one.

He was paralyzed from the waist down in 2014, after being sprayed with gunfire while standing at the intersection of 64th Street and King Drive, according to an archived Chicago Tribune article. One of the 13 bullets that struck him damaged his spinal cord and left him confined to a wheelchair, according to the article.

The Tribune reported in 2014 that upon McMullen’s discharge from the hospital he planned to resume taking classes at the community college where he had been enrolled prior to being shot.

It’s not clear how long he has resided at the rehabilitation center in Homewood.

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