By Jessica Bagley
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — TOWN OF TONAWANDA — An 86-year-old victim is now in fair condition at the Erie County Medical Center after his roommate brutally attacked him at the Kenwell-DePaul Senior Living Community late last month.
Although Salvatore Trusello, 86, is likely past the worst of his suffering now, officers said they weren’t initially sure if he would live due to the severity of his injuries.
Trusello was still in bed the morning of Nov. 26 when his roommate, Chester A. Rusek, 87, allegedly used a handmade weapon to hit Trusello in the face, head, chest and wrist according to police.
“The weapon was 2 1/2 pound magnet from a speaker, attached to an 18 inch piece of string,” Lt. Detective Joseph Carosi said. “It was basically an impact weapon on a string, and he was beating him.”
The attack occurred at about 9:30 a.m.
After the assault, Rusek, with the assistance of a walker, shuffled down to the front desk and told an employee to call for medical help for Trusello, telling her, “I just beat his (expletive).”
Police reported to the scene shortly thereafter. Trusello, in a semi-conscious state, was able to identify Rusek as his attacker.
The victim was sent to the hospital with serious injuries, including a broken rib, punctured lung and severely bruised face.
Meanwhile, Rusek remained in the foyer area of the center, located at 3456 Delaware Ave. According to Carosi, he fully cooperated with authorities and even asked an officer where his patrol car was so he could get into it.
“He knew he was going to get arrested and didn’t try to get away or anything,” Carosi said. “He isn’t a spry guy, he’s elderly and walks with a walker.”
Rusek was arrested for first-degree assault and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon.
“The assault charge is a B felony,” Carosi said. “It’s a serious charge.”
Rusek was taken back to police headquarters, where officers interviewed him. Rusek admitted to the crime and provided a full statement to police.
He told officers, “I didn’t want to kill him, I just wanted to get even.”
Rusek was held overnight to appear before a town judge, who sent him to the Erie County Holding Center for a psychiatric evaluation.
He is currently being held at the center in lieu of $10,000 bail.
If Trusello passes away due to his injuries, Rusek will likely face additional charges, according to Carosi.Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000, ext. 4150.