Wife Shot Dying Husband in Hospital

From a Washington Post story by Justine McDaniel headlined “Wife shot dying husband in hospital in plan to end his life, police say”:

A 76-year-old woman allegedly shot and killed her terminally ill husband in his hospital room Saturday after they agreed that she would end his suffering because he was too sick to kill himself, according to local law enforcement.

The woman then barricaded herself inside the room, shutting down some hospital operations at AdventHealth hospital in Daytona Beach, Fla., for a few hours. She was arrested just after 3 p.m. after a standoff and will be charged with first-degree murder, police said.

The woman, Ellen Gilland, and her husband, Jerry Gilland, who was 77 and dying from his illness, allegedly had made an agreement that she would kill him and then herself, Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari E. Young said. On Saturday, she went to his eleventh-floor single room at the hospital to carry out the plan.

“Because he was terminally ill, they had a conversation about it and they actually planned this approximately three weeks ago, that if he continued to take a turn for the worse, that he wanted her to end this,” Young told reporters.

The woman shot her husband in the head, but “couldn’t go through with” suicide, Young said. She shut herself in the hospital room, which caused a difficult evacuation of patients in neighboring rooms, all of whom were terminally ill and most of whom were on ventilators.

SWAT and hostage negotiation teams talked with the woman, who did not threaten police but wouldn’t put down her gun, Young said. They eventually threw a “flash-bang” device in the room, causing her to drop the gun, and took her into custody.

The woman never presented a threat to anyone else in the hospital, police said. They asked residents to avoid the area for a few hours and said in the late afternoon that the hospital was resuming normal operations.

“We are devastated by the tragedy that unfolded at the AdventHealth Daytona Beach campus today, and our prayers are with those impacted,” a spokesperson said.

Authorities did not know how the woman had brought the gun into the hospital or whether she went through a security check upon entering. Young said the husband had allegedly wanted to die by suicide but “he did not have the strength, so she had to carry it out for him.”

“She’s very sad,” Young said of the woman. “It’s a tragic circumstance.”

Justine McDaniel is a general assignment reporter who joined The Washington Post in 2022. She previously covered news at the Philadelphia Inquirer.

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