Man killed in incident at vets home suffered head trauma

By JEFF HORVATH | The Times-Tribune | Published: April 29, 2019

SCRANTON, Pa. (Tribune News Service) — An elderly man who died last week after an incident at the Gino J. Merli Veterans’ Center in Scranton suffered “blunt force head trauma,” Lackawanna County Coroner Tim Rowland said Sunday.

Leonard Fiume, 95, a resident of the center, died Friday about 4 a.m. at Allied Services’ inpatient hospice unit. He and a 78-year-old male resident of the center were hospitalized after an altercation that occurred Monday at the care facility for veterans at Mulberry Street and Penn Avenue.

Rowland identified the cause of Fiume’s death as an intracranial hemorrhage, or bleeding within the skull, brought on by blunt force head trauma. The manner of death is pending the outcome of a police investigation into the Monday altercation, he said.

The nature of the altercation remains unclear. The incident at the center occurred about 1:20 p.m. on April 22. Fiume was treated at Geisinger Community Medical Center and later released, a hospital spokesman said Wednesday. The 78-year-old man, whom police have refused to identify given the ongoing investigation, also was treated at a hospital and released.

Reached Sunday, Scranton Police Chief Carl Graziano said police continue to investigate the incident and are working with the Lackawanna County district attorney’s office to determine if charges will be filed.

The Merli center’s commandant, Jim Miller, referred questions last week to the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, which operates the facility.

Reached Friday, spokeswoman Joan Nissley said the department is cooperating with the police investigation but would not provide additional information.

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