Allentown, PA – An 86-year-old man killed his 83-year-old dying wife in an eastern Pennsylvania hospice Tuesday and then committed suicide after deciding he could not live without her.
The shooting took place around 1 pm on the fourth floor of the Lehigh Valley Hospital, according to a local television station. Hospital staff found Mildred Osman dead in her room with a bullet wound. Her husband lay lifeless nearby.
“The first thing that drew their attention was the sound of the gunshot,” Police Captain Glen Dorney said. “They heard a second gunshot and came to investigate.”
The hospital was not evacuated following the shooting. No one else at the hospital had been harmed, nor was anyone else threatened. No one witnessed the shooting.
“It’s a love story,” James Geiger, senior vice president of the hospital, said at a news conference when asked if the shooting appeared to be a mercy killing. “The elderly gentleman could not bear to see his wife suffering, and the family, I believe, have observed that he just could not envision living without her.”
Police report that the man gave hospital staff no indication he intended to harm his wife. Lehigh Valley Hospital does not screen visitors with metal detectors, but security uses wands when someone is suspected of having a weapon.
Mrs. Osman entered the hospice over a week ago. Given her husband’s decision to take her life, she presumably did not have long to live. The Associated Press reports that autopsies for the couple are scheduled for Wednesday, and police are preliminarily considering the case to be a murder-suicide.
Allentown has a population of over 110,000. The city is Pennsylvania’s fastest growing and the state’s third largest after Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. It is the largest city in the Lehigh Valley metropolitan area, located 60 miles north of Philadelphia.
Police have not found a note or any other evidence regarding the elderly man’s decision to kill his dying wife in a murder-suicide and leave this world together.
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