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Elderly man who shot ill wife in hospital dies

An elderly man who fatally shot his ailing wife in her hospital bed Friday and the turned the gun on himself died Saturday.
/ Source: The Associated Press

An elderly man who fatally shot his ailing wife in her hospital bed Friday and the turned the gun on himself died Saturday.

Toms River Police Chief Michael Mastronardy would not say whether the shootings at Community Medical Center appeared to be intended as a mercy killing.

Charles Mason, 88, was standing at his wife's bedside when he opened fire, he said.

"It's a situation where someone takes ill, and this is a result of that sometimes," Mastronardy said.

Hospital staff immediately placed the hospital under lockdown until police were able to determine that no other patients, visitors or staff members were in danger. The lockdown lasted 10 minutes, officials said, and the hospital reopened shortly after the shooting.

The second patient sharing his 87-year-old wife's room was unharmed.

The man was wounded in the head. He was flown to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, where he later died.

It was not immediately clear what the wife was being treated for.