The shooting at a Florida hospital was planned by a couple for weeks

DAYTONA BEACH — The plan had been in the works for weeks: Ellen Gilland, 76, would fatally shoot her terminally ill husband Jerry, 77, and then kill herself. But after shooting her in the head in a hospital room on the 11th floor, she couldn’t keep up with the rest of her.

Instead, still armed, Gilland was in a four-hour standoff with police until the officers were able to use a non-lethal explosive to distract her and take her into custody.

That’s according to the police account of the shooting and its aftermath Saturday at an apartment for terminally ill patients at AdventHealth Daytona Beach, near the central Florida coast.

The couple hatched the plan three weeks ago, Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young said at a news conference over the weekend. During a conversation, he said, they decided that if Jerry Gilland’s unidentified illness worsened, “he wanted her to get it over with.”

“Apparently the goal was for him to do it, but he didn’t have the strength, so she had to go through with it,” Young said.

So they resorted to “a murder suicide in which she would kill herself,” the police chief said. “But she decided that she couldn’t go through with it.”

After hearing a gunshot in room 1106, two hospital workers walked in and saw Ellen Gilland sitting at the bedside with her husband unconscious in a pool of blood. She pointed the gun at the couple and told them to leave the room, which smelled of burning gunpowder, according to a police report. Another staff member also walked in and was told to leave at gunpoint.

Employees then began evacuating people from nearby rooms, according to the report. The police chief called it “a logistical nightmare” as most of the patients on the 11th floor were on ventilators.

After the officers arrived, they lined up in the hallway with their guns pointed toward the open door to room 1106. The police repeatedly yelled, “Drop the gun!” according to an officer’s body camera video recorded about 10 minutes after the shooting.

“Tell me what’s going on. We don’t want to hurt him,” one officer yelled. Another told a colleague: “Back off. Support. We have time. We have nothing but time.

After approximately four hours, SWAT team members used a non-lethal explosive device to distract Ellen Gilland and entered the room. They attempted to use a stun gun but failed to subdue her and she fired into the ceiling. She then dropped the gun and was taken into custody, according to the police report.

Gilland was charged Monday with first-degree premeditated murder and two counts of aggressive assault with a deadly weapon with the intent to kill, and remained jailed without bail. His court-appointed public defender did not respond to an emailed request for comment.

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Gillands residents also did not respond to phone messages Tuesday.

“This is a tragic circumstance,” the police chief said, “because it shows that none of us is immune to the trials and tribulations of life.”

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