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Elderly Residents Recovering After Stabbings

September 27, 1987

CHICAGO (AP) _ Three elderly people remained hospitalized Sunday, one in critical condition, after a former mental patient stabbed two residents of a retirement home with a pair of scissors and assaulted five others, police said.

Hal Kaplan, 39, was charged with attempted murder, battery and aggravated battery after the rampage Saturday at the Crown Plaza Center, where he had been staying under a program that provides temporary housing for patients released from the Chicago Read Mental Health Center.

Pearl Lustigson, 86, remained in critical condition Sunday at Weiss Memorial Hospital after treatment for stab wounds, said a nursing supervisor.

Rose Ruff, 70, who was stabbed, and John McGrann, 93, who suffered a broken hip, were listed in fair condition Sunday at Edgewater Hospital. Four other people who suffered minor injuries during the incident were treated and released, police said.

Crown Plaza, a housing complex for self-sufficient senior citizens, houses about 75 residents on its eight floors, said Melvin Dick, an administrator.

Dick said patients granted temporary housing there are not considered dangerous and that Kaplan, whose mother described him as manic-depressive, had been doing ″very well.″ Such patients usually stay only a few days at Crown Plaza while they are looking for apartments, he said.

According to police, Kaplan’s outburst may have been triggered by his failure to take his medication.

The incident began when Kaplan’s mother arrived at the retirement home after a phone conversation with her son led her to believe something was wrong, police said.

Police Detective Bill McGarry said Kaplan’s mother found he had cut himself on the chest and hands, apparently after breaking a bathroom window.

After grabbing his mother by the hair and dragging her into the hallway, Kaplan punched Dick and another resident, Greg Mausehund, 26, when they tried to stop him, McGarry said.

Kaplan then went to the sixth floor and started screaming for Ms. Lustigson, a resident, to open the door to her apartment. McGrann, who lives across the hall, opened his door and Kaplan ran into McGrann’s room, knocking the older man down and breaking his hip, McGarry said.

Kaplan then grabbed a scissors and stabbed Ms. Lustigson repeatedly, the detective said. He also is accused of stabbing Ms. Ruff when she opened her door and punching 65-year-old George Micheletti, McGarry said.

Kaplan afterward locked himself in Ms. Ruff’s bathroom and was attempting to cut himself with the scissors when police subdued him, McGarry said.

Kaplan was being held Sunday in the Cook County Jail’s hospital ward for observation, said police Detective Shawn Joyce.

Update hourly