Man dies after allegedly being hit in face with mug at senior home

A resident at an adult group home in Washington state died after he was allegedly hit in the face with a coffee mug during a fight. Now a state senator is calling for a moratorium on placement of violent offenders in adult family homes.

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Police said the assault happened Saturday at the Visions Adult Family Home in Lakewood. Authorities said two residents got into an argument that quickly turned into a fight.

"As we investigated the assault we found that the suspect, who has mental health issues, had just attacked the victim over a drink of some kind that was shared," said Lakewood police Lt. Chris Lawler.

According to criminal charges, John Quitorio, “while using a mug as a fist,” was seen striking Timothy Nitschke directly in the eye. Doctors at Madigan Army Medical Center told investigators that “Nitschke had severe internal bleeding, was in the operating room and was not expected to survive,” according to the affidavit. Lakewood police say he died shortly after the assault, but it's not clear if Quitorio actually hit Nitschke with the mug.

“There’s no way to confirm that at this point,” Lawler said. “The suspect is admitting that he assaulted him with his fists.”

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The death sparked a call by state Sen. Steve O'Ban, R-University Place, for the Department of Social and Health Services to call for “a moratorium on its practice of placing violent individuals from Western State Hospital and the Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island in adult family homes,” according to a news release late Wednesday.

O'Ban says Quitorio had a violent history before being placed in the quiet neighborhood group home and had been treated at Western State. “This violent tragedy was entirely predictable. DSHS should have heeded our calls to end placing individuals with violent histories in adult family homes.”

Quitorio was ordered held without bail after a court appearance Monday. He could be charged with murder and is expected back in court Nov. 5.

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