A 76-year-old woman in Florida shot her husband in his hospital room Saturday morning, police said.
The woman then barricaded herself in the room for hours until police were able to detain her.
Daytona Beach police said the woman and her husband had made a pact to end his suffering.
A woman in Florida on Saturday shot and killed her terminally ill husband and barricaded herself in his hospital room in an attempt to carry out a pact the couple had made, according to police.
Ellen Gilland, 76, and her husband, Jerry Gilland, 77, made an agreement that if his health condition worsened, she would end his suffering and kill him and then kill herself, Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari E. Young said at a news conference.
"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 said, adding that the husband did not have the strength to shoot himself, so "she had to carry it out for him."
Ellen Gilland arrived at the AdventHealth hospital in Daytona Beach, Florida, Saturday morning and brought a gun up to her husband's hospital room on the eleventh floor. After shooting her husband in the head, she "couldn't go through with" killing herself, according to Young, and barricaded herself in his room.
Other patients in nearby rooms were evacuated and authorities engaged in an hours-long negotiation with Ellen Gilland, who police said did not threaten anyone else but would not put down her gun. "At no time were any of the hospital staff threatened, or any other patients," Young said.
It was unclear how she was able to bring a gun inside the hospital, which did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment. In a statement provided to The Washington Post, a spokesperson said: "We are devastated by the tragedy that unfolded at the AdventHealth Daytona Beach campus today, and our prayers are with those impacted."
Young said officers were eventually able to use a "flash-bang" device to distract her and get her to lower her weapon. She was then taken into custody and could be charged with first-degree murder.
Physician-assisted suicide, in which a person must be terminally ill and have a prognosis of six months or less to live, is legal in 10 states and Washington, DC, according to CNN: Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington, as well as Montana and California via a court ruling.
Physician-assisted suicide differs from euthanasia, in which a person assists in another's suicide to end their suffering, but without any legal authority. Euthanasia is illegal in all 50 states under existing homicide laws.
"She's very sad," Young said of Ellen Gilland, adding: "It's a tragic circumstance because it just shows that none of us are immune from the trials and tribulations of life."
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