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Long IslandCrime

Suffolk cops: Veteran clubbed roommate in head while he slept

Michael Hunter, 29, who lived in a Yaphank

Michael Hunter, 29, who lived in a Yaphank home for veterans, was charged with attempted murder, Suffolk County police said. Credit: SCPD

A resident of a home for veterans in Yaphank has been charged with attempted murder for clubbing his roommate in the head with bolt cutters early Monday while the man slept, Suffolk police said.

Michael Hunter, 29, who lives at the Suffolk County United Veterans home, is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in First District Court in Central Islip.

Hunter apparently had an ongoing dispute with the victim, according to police and Mark Grossman, a spokesman for the Association for Mental Health and Wellness, a nonprofit that oversees the Mill Road home. Police say that dispute ended at about 2:25 a.m. when Hunter hit the victim multiple times in the head with bolt cutters.

The 58-year-old man, whom police did not immediately identify, was taken to Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center in East Patchogue, where he was in critical condition.

The victim was not a veteran, but Grossman said it is not uncommon for the Suffolk Department of Social Services to place nonveterans at the 23-bed home if there is space. Hunter and the victim had shared a room since mid-May, Grossman said.

Hunter was an Army veteran who saw combat in Afghanistan, Grossman said. “He came back really troubled, with a lot of issues,” Grossman said.

The home provides mental health services for veterans, but Grossman said he was unsure of Hunter’s progress. The agency will review whether Hunter was housed appropriately, he said.

Hunter has a pending charge of second-degree harassment in District Court dating to last November. His attorney, Pierre Bazile of Huntington, said he was unaware of the new arrest and said his client has maintained his innocence on the older case.

Bazile declined to discuss the harassment charge. He acknowledged that his client “does have some service-related issues.”

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