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Woman fatally shot by terminally ill husband in Florida hospital, police say

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Jerry Gilland, a 77-year-old terminally ill man, made a pact with his wife about three weeks ago, authorities say: If his failing health did not improve, he wanted his 76-year-old wife, Ellen Gilland, kill him.

His health continued to deteriorate, and shortly before 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Ms. Gilland brought a gun inside AdventHealth Hospital in Daytona Beach, Florida, to Mr. Gilland on the 11th floor and fatally shot him in the head. , police said.

She also planned to shoot herself, but in the end “she couldn’t do it,” said Chief Jakari E. Young of the Daytona Beach Police Department.

“This is a tragic circumstance because it just goes to show that none of us are immune to the trials and tribulations of life,” Chief Young said at a press conference on Saturday.

Ms Gilland confined herself to the room and refused to drop her gun when authorities arrived, Chief Young said.

After a standoff of several hours, officers used a flash-bang device, which typically produces a bright flash and loud noise, to distract Ms Gilland, he said. Officers also used a bean bag gun to help bring her into custody, Chief Young said.

“Even after the first shooting, she never tried to get up and leave, so everything was confined to the room,” Chief Young said. “At no time was any member of the hospital staff threatened, or any other patient.”

The shooting at the hospital appeared to shock emergency responders and created a logistical nightmare for officers and hospital staff as they rushed to evacuate other patients on the floor.

Mr Gilland was the sole occupant of the room, police said. They did not share specific details about Mr Gilland’s illness or say how long he had been in hospital.

Investigators said they did not know how Ms Gilland managed to bring a gun inside the hospital, which did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment on Saturday. It was not immediately clear what type of weapon she had used.

But police said they were sure of one element of the shooting: It was planned by the Gillands of New Smyrna Beach, Florida.

Chief Young said it appeared the pair had planned for Mr Gilland to shoot themselves, but did not have the strength. “So she had to do it for him,” he said.

Ms Gilland could face a charge of first-degree murder, Chief Young said. The 7th Judicial Circuit State’s Attorney’s Office did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment on Saturday.

Ms Gilland was taken to the Volusia County Jail on Saturday afternoon.

“She’s very sad,” Chief Young said. “It’s obviously a – it’s a difficult situation.”

Ms Gilland had been in a “depressive state”, he said, because she understood that Mr Gilland was terminally ill and “the end was near”.

If you are having suicidal thoughts, call or text 988 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resources.

nytimes Gt

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