mb-mcleod

Joe McLeod, 70, has been transferred to a psychiatric care unit. ((Courtsesy of McLeod family))

The family of an elderly man who died after an alleged attack by another resident in a Winnipeg care home wants a public inquiry into his death.

Frank Alexander, 87, was pushed in a confrontation last week with an Alzheimer's patient at Parkview Place personal care home on Edmonton Street in Winnipeg, according to police.

Alexander fell backwards and struck his head on the floor. He died late Monday night after spending the weekend in hospital in critical condition.

Joe McLeod, 70, is charged with aggravated assault, but police said Tuesday they were consulting with the Crown to see whether the charge might be upgraded to manslaughter.

At a news conference on Thursday, the Alexander family said they want a detailed inquiry into his death to bring changes needed to increase the safety of residents in the elder care system.

'We do not want death our father's death to be in vain [but] we are not out to crucify Mr. McLeod.'—Michael Alexander

"I want to see something done so this doesn't happen again," said Alexander's son, Michael.

"We do not want our father's death to be in vain [but] we are not out to crucify Mr. McLeod."

McLeod's family has said he has a history of aggressive behaviour. He was jailed last fall for allegedly assaulting his wife, Rose, which led to him being admitted to the care home.

McLeod should have been in a more secure facility, Alexander said. "He should not have been there."

The family is also requesting an investigation into political interference in the case. Alexander said the provincial Liberal Party had the right intentions when lobbying for McLeod to be released from the remand centre to a care home last fall.

But ultimately, Alexander said, the political pressure failed to ensure the system worked as it should.

Health authority, minister respond

A spokeswoman for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority said Thursday the decision to place McLeod in the care home was made based on medical advice.

"Prior to his admission into a [care home]

, Mr. McLeod was assessed by medical professionals, who, based on the information available to them, determined it would be appropriate for him to be placed in a standard personal care home," Heidi Graham said in an email to CBC News.

The family’s first choice was a home in the Transcona neighbourhood, but they accepted an interim placement in Parkview Place, the downtown care home where the alleged assault took place, said Graham.

Both the health authority and Manitoba Health Minister Theresa Oswald confirmed four investigations are occurring concurrently into what happened in Alexander's case. They are being carried out by the Winnipeg Police Service, the provincial medical examiner's office, the WRHA and the Office of Protection of People in Care.

The Manitoba government is open to holding an inquest or inquiry into Alexander's death, but will not make a decision until the investigations are completed, Oswald said.

The minister added, however, that if it becomes apparent changes are needed to the elder-care system they will take place immediately.