Local News

Group home's license suspended after screwdriver stabbing

Posted February 8, 2010

— The state has suspended the license of a Holly Springs group home where, police say, a resident used a screwdriver to stab another resident over the weekend.

The suspension is effective immediately and means that VAGAP Health, at 229 Apple Drupe Way, can no longer accept new residents. It has 60 days to appeal the suspension.

The state Department of Health and Human Services is also working to place current residents at other facilities, Jeff Horton, with the Division of Health Service Regulation, said.

Police arrested Gregory Henry McClain, 22, on Saturday after he allegedly stabbed Stephan Abreu more than 20 times. Abreu, 48, suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was treated at WakeMed and released.

McClain faces charges of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. He was in the Wake County jail Monday under a $1.5 million bond.

Saturday's stabbing prompted an outcry from Holly Springs residents near the group home and Mayor Dick Sears, who said the town was considering legal action to get the facility closed.

"The incident with the stabbing with the screwdriver was kind of the [culminating] issue that said, 'Maybe we shouldn't have that home there,'" Sears said. "It's not being run properly, so let's shut it down."

Since it opened in December, Holly Springs police have received 17 calls for service from the home, including hang-ups, missing persons reports and suspicious activity.

Obi Achumba, who owns the group home, said that residents are well supervised.

The state became aware of issues at the group home on Jan. 14 and, after an investigation, determined that, although there were some issues with supervision, no issue warranted suspending the facility's license.

Horton said DHHS typically works with group homes to correct problems and that closing them is a last resort.

"It's not something we typically do every week or every month – maybe less than half a dozen times a year," he said. "But if we feel like we need to protect health and safety, then we will do it."

The state says there are 3,003 mental health group homes in North Carolina.


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  • dogman1973 Feb 9, 2010

    You can thank LBJ - The Great Society President-- for turning out the mentally ill into your communities rather than housing them in hospitals. Yet another Socialist President whose handy work is STILL impacting society long after he left office! Can only speculate what "Corpseman" Obama's impact will be?

  • carolinagirl2398 Feb 9, 2010

    Mad, your points are not valid. I live in this neighborhood. The HOA couldn't do a thing. It isn't allowed per our covenants, however, state and federal Fair Housing laws protect them and those laws supercede our covenants. Same goes with the town, there's nothing that they could do. Believe me, there's been a lot of complainint going on by all. That's why things got done. We've been calling, writing and visiting town and state officials since this all began. It's a large neighborhood, over 400 homes, plus that home is on the edge of the neighborhood that borders another large neighborhood and a city park, so there were a lot of people complaining, hence why things got so noticed.

    I fully support group homes that are properly run and supervised, but this one was not. Even so, I do not believe it's responsible to plop 6 mentally unstable criminals in the middle of a neighborhood near a school bus stop and city park.

    Take a quick look at the homeowner...he's shady!

  • szimmerman1313 Feb 9, 2010

    I'm new here. I myself have worked in group homes out of state, so I am sure laws are different. I provided care for adults with DD/MR and yes they were allowed to refuse medications, food, etc. We however had a Rights and Responsibilities clause. Yes, they had a right to live in a community setting but they had the responsibility to provide a safe environment to housemates as well as other people in the community, if they were not fit to live in a group home then they were placed in a more appropriate setting. I think too many people are just trying to make a buck off of people in this population with little care to the actual well being of the resident and community. Group homes are a wonderful alternative to institutions so long as the person is a good fit, and the person running it is properly trained. I wonder what guidelines this person has set for accepting people into the home?

  • Nikka Feb 9, 2010

    Why can't we bring back mental hospitals circa 1980?

  • kbo80 Feb 9, 2010

    Surrey Hills you are right... What in the world? This man has several houses with unpaid taxes and in the same neighborhoods. He needs to be investigated or did the state give him money to buy these homes?

  • kikinc Feb 9, 2010

    Ummm, madpouiyt, the residents were very vocal about their concerns with this group home. We all knew about it before they moved in. Everyone was told there was nothing that could be done because it is legal in NC to run a group home in a residential neighborhood. The neighbors complained more than the 17 calls to the police. They're not counting the people who went to the police station themselves. The person to blame for this is the guy running the home.

  • madpoiuyt Feb 9, 2010

    Four groups of people are to blame for this: 1. The Homeowner's Association for allowing it to be in existence in the first place. 2. the HS Planning and zoning department (who could care less)3. The Town of HS sub-standard council members (that if in their neighborhoods, would block) 3. The neighbors around this home that did not block it by complaining to the previous three problems.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Feb 9, 2010

    AtALost, could it be that "affluent areas" complain more clearly and directly about a bad situation?...than a poor area with a No Snitchin' policy?

  • AtALost Feb 9, 2010

    They moved quickly because it was in Holly Springs. Southeast Raleigh, Northeast Raleigh or Durham would still be dealing with it as the officials worked to appease the neighbors and keep the group home out of more affluent areas. The person complaining about the group home in their neighborhood should send complaint emails and letters. Be sure to cc: others and have your neighbors complain too.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Feb 9, 2010

    In the 6 weeks that this home was open, the police had 17 service calls. That does not seem like a good start.

    Can the county start charging a company like that? I mean, they are a private company...in the business to make money, right? And, how many of the "patients" are wards of the state?...meaning, how many are paid by US to be there?