A 76-year-old woman allegedly shot and killed her terminally ill husband at a Daytona Beach, Florida, hospital following a pact police said the couple made several weeks ago.
Officers were called to AdventHealth Daytona Beach Saturday to report a person shot, the police department said in a statement. Press release on twitter.
When the police arrived, Ellen Gilland was locked in her husband Jerry Gilland’s room on the 11th floor. Police used a distracting device “to get her to put the gun down long enough so we can hit her less lethally,” Daytona Police Chief Jakari Young told a news conference. She was taken into custody and faces a charge of first-degree murder.
The woman told authorities that because of her husband’s health issues, they had talked about three weeks ago and decided that if he “kept getting worse, he wanted her to get it over with,” Young said.
“Initially I think the plan was murder-suicide so she killed him and then turned the gun on herself but decided she couldn’t go through with it,” he told reporters.
Young said her husband knew the shooting would take place today. It is unclear how long he was hospitalized.
Staff and patients in neighboring rooms were evacuated during the standoff. Young said the 11th floor is for terminally ill patients and praised officers for safely evacuating people.
“It was a logistical nightmare and that’s why I’m really, really proud of my team,” he said. “Virtually all the patients on that floor are on ventilators, so they didn’t have the space to evacuate the entire floor, so they evacuated the rooms where it was most important to get them out of the way.”
Police said earlier that no one else was injured.
Young called the incident “tragic” and urged everyone struggling to seek help.
“It just goes to show that none of us are immune to life’s trials and tribulations,” said the chief.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call 988 to connect with the Crisis and Suicide Lifeline. You can also call the network, formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, at 800-273-8255text HOME to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional features.
Courtney Brogle contributed.
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