The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

March 19, 2013

Man kills wife, then self at hospice

ALLENTOWN — An elderly man shot and killed his 83-year-old wife in an eastern Pennsylvania hospice unit Tuesday, then turned the gun on himself, authorities said.

Staff members heard gunshots on the fourth floor of Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown shortly after 1 p.m. When they entered the room where the shots were fired, they found the woman dead in her bed, along with the body of a man, said Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin.

The shooting “preliminarily appears to be a murder-suicide” involving a husband and wife, he said.

Authorities withheld the names of the shooter and victim until their families could be notified.

No other patients or staff members were harmed or threatened, the hospital said. The hospital wasn’t evacuated.

“This is a very tragic event and our hearts go out to the family of the deceased and our Lehigh Valley Health Network colleagues who were involved,” said Chuck Lewis, the hospital’s senior vice president of external affairs.

No one witnessed the shooting, and the man gave hospital staff no indication that he was about to harm his wife, who had entered hospice more than a week ago, said police Capt. Glen Dorney.

“The first thing that drew their attention was the sound of the gunshot,” he said. “They heard a second gunshot and came to investigate.”

Like most hospitals, Lehigh Valley Hospital doesn’t use metal detectors to screen visitors.

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