Local News

Group home's license suspended after screwdriver stabbing

Posted February 8, 2010 4:49 p.m. EST
Updated February 8, 2010 9:02 p.m. EST

— 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.