A California man is in custody after two suspected mercy killings — the shooting of his wife at home, followed by his sister at a nursing facility, police said.
Cops were called to the Country Villa Sheraton Nursing Home in Los Angeles on Wednesday morning to investigate a report of a shooting.
When they arrived, they found 58-year-old invalid Lisa Nave dead in her bed of a gunshot to the head, with a derringer-style revolver on the table next to her, and her 60-year-old brother, Lance Holger Anderson, waiting for them on the patio.
"He gave up without any problems at all," said LAPD Lt. Paul Vernon, adding that no one else at the nursing home was threatened or hurt.
When Nave's family was notified, they wondered what would happen to Anderson's wife, who was also ailing, suffering from symptoms related to dementia, Vernon said.
"The family called the sheriff in Santa Clarita to conduct a welfare check, and responding deputies did find a dead woman, presumed to be Lance’s wife," Vernon said.
"The assumption there is that he killed her, then came here and killed his sister," Vernon told reporters outside the nursing home.
Vernon said the double homicide appeared to be "mercy killings at least from his standpoint," although he added the suspect did not use that term.
Nave had been at Country Villa since 2008. She came out of a coma four years ago but required constant care, police said. It's not clear what ailment Anderson's wife had.
Regardless, said Vernon, illness "does not justify any killings."
Nursing home staff declined to talk about the shooting.
"Everything is safe now," said Maryvic Corder, an employee in the home's business office who was in the building when it happened.
The nursing staff was informing other patients about the incident, and sections of the 138-bed facility were secured so police could complete their investigation, Corder said.
First published December 11 2013, 4:54 PM