A man who said he wanted to end his ailing wife’s suffering shot her dead in her bed at a suburban New York hospital on Wednesday and then killed himself, police said.
Richard DeLucia, 71, left a note at the couple’s condo indicating he was distraught about how his wife, Ann, 70, was suffering and wanted to put a stop to her ordeal, Westchester County police spokesman Kieran O’Leary said.
Then the husband went to his wife’s room at Westchester Medical Center with a licensed .38-calibre revolver, fired a single shot that killed his wife and then took his own life with another shot, police said. No one else was in the room at the time, authorities said.
Ann DeLucia, whose medical condition wasn’t immediately revealed, was found in her bed and her husband was found on the floor of her fourth-floor room at the Valhalla hospital, about 56 kilometres north of Manhattan, police said.
Richard DeLucia had once owned a well-known Westchester catering hall, the Westchester Manor, called the Manor House during his time, current co-owner Enrico Mareschi said.
Although DeLucia sold the venue to another owner roughly 15 years ago, he still came by occasionally until two to three years ago, Mareschi said.
“He was a nice guy,” Mareschi said. “He really was a good person.”
At the couple’s condo building in Yorktown Heights, neighbours absorbed the news with dismay.
“Everybody’s just shocked,” resident Valeria Tassone said, adding that she had no insight into what was going on in the couple’s life.
The gunfire prompted a brief lockdown of a major suburban medical cenre that cares for tens of thousands of people per year.
Jatziri Escobar, a patient who arrived at the hospital shortly after 9am, told The Journal News she was in a first-floor room when staffers ran through the building, alerting patients about the active shooting.
“I was kinda scared, but one of the officers told me to relax and all would be OK,” said Escobar, 22, of Elmsford.
Dr Srihari Naidu, a cardiologist at the hospital, told The Associated Press he was at his office in a nearby building when he got an “active shooter alert,” followed by a lockdown notification that lasted for about a half-hour.
The building where the shooting happened is “very well guarded,” he said, and many areas cannot be accessed without badges.
A third-party company handles security for Westchester Medical Center, providing both unarmed guards and some armed supervisors with law-enforcement backgrounds.
People entering the hospital aren’t searched for weapons. Police said the hospital’s security staff responded immediately, and police arrived within two minutes.
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