Hammer attack victim passes, family wants answers

Ronald McKenzie, pictured here in a photo provided by his family, was attacked with a hammer by another resident at the Deer Meadow Assisted Living facility in Sheridan on May 14.
Ronald McKenzie, pictured here in a photo provided by his family, was attacked with a hammer by another resident at the Deer Meadow Assisted Living facility in Sheridan on May 14.

SHERIDAN, Ore. (KOIN 6) — The family of a 51-year-old man who was hit in the head with a hammer at an assisted living center in Sheridan on Wednesday wants to know why the incident ever happened.

Ronald McKenzie, pictured here in a photo provided by his family, was attacked with a hammer by another resident at the Deer Meadow Assisted Living facility in Sheridan on May 14.
Ronald McKenzie, pictured here in a photo provided by his family, was attacked with a hammer by another resident at the Deer Meadow Assisted Living facility in Sheridan on May 14.

The family opted to remove Ronald McKenzie from life support on Thursday. McKenzie died not long after, according to the Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office.

“We’re trying to let go. We had to make a difficult decision today,” said Danielle McKenzie Hamilton, McKenzie’s niece. ‘We’re not trying to point fingers. We just want to know what happened.”

The Deer Meadow Assisted Living facility in Sheridan, which has had four complaints since 2012, according to state-run Northwest Senior and Disability Services, May 15, 2014. (KOIN 6)
The Deer Meadow Assisted Living facility in Sheridan, which has had four complaints since 2012, according to state-run Northwest Senior and Disability Services, May 15, 2014. (KOIN 6)

Ronald McKenzie was found bleeding on the floor of his room at the Deer Meadow Assisted Living facility home around 2 a.m. Wednesday, the Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office said in a release. The hammer was found on the ground next to him, and it appeared he was hit in the head multiple times.

“His eye was crushed. His skull was crushed,” said Hamilton.

Detectives arrested another 51-year-old man, Nathan Brewer, at the scene. Brewer faces a first-degree assault charge.

When the administrator at Deer Meadow Assisted Living was reached by phone and asked whether McKenzie and Brewer had any previous altercations, she said the facility had “no comment.”

According to state-run Northwest Senior and Disability Services, Deer Meadow Assisted Living has had four complaints since 2012 that ranged from failing to address residents’ behavior to failing to provide a safe medication administration plan. However, none of those complaints included violent or serious attacks.

A manager with Northwest Senior and Disability Services said via email that they are “actively investigating” the incident but could not comment further due to confidentiality.

In the meantime, McKenzie’s family is left grieving.

“I guess the thing I will always remember was how giving he was,” said Hamilton.

Anyone with information concerning the case is asked to call 503.434.7508.

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