Florida hospital shooting planned by couple for weeks

ORLANDO — The plan had been in the works for weeks: Ellen Gilland, 76, would shoot her terminally ill husband Jerry, 77, and then commit suicide.but then Shot him in the head in the ward on the 11th floorshe couldn’t do the rest.

Instead, Gilland, still fully armed, confronted police for four hours until they were able to use non-lethal explosives to distract and take her into custody.

That’s according to a police description of the shooting and its aftermath that occurred Saturday on the floor of a terminally ill patient at AdventHealth Daytona Beach near Florida’s central coast.

The couple made the plan three weeks ago, Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young said at a news conference over the weekend. During one conversation, he said, they decided that if Jerry Gillan’s unnamed illness worsened, “he wanted her to end this.”

“Obviously the goal was to get him to do it, but he didn’t have the strength, so she had to do it,” Yang said.

So they turned to “murder-suicide where she would kill herself,” the police chief said. “But she decided she couldn’t take it.”

After hearing gunshots from room 1106, two hospital workers walked in and saw Alan Gillan sitting on the edge of the bed, her husband lying unresponsive in a pool of blood. She pointed the weapon at the two men and told them to leave the room, which smelled of burning gunpowder, according to a police report. Another staff member also entered and was told to leave at gunpoint.

Employees then reportedly began evacuating nearby rooms. The police chief called it a “logistical nightmare” because most of the patients on the 11th floor were on ventilators.

After the police arrived, they lined up in the corridor, pointed their guns at the open door of room 1106, and the police repeatedly shouted: “Put down the gun!” According to the video recorded by a police officer’s body camera about 10 minutes after the shooting happened.

“Tell me what happened. We don’t want to hurt you,” an officer yelled. Another told a colleague, “Back up. Back up. We have time. We have nothing but time.”

About four hours later, members of the SWAT team used a non-lethal explosive device to distract Alan Gillan and enter the room. They tried to use the stun gun but failed to subdue her and she fired a shot into the ceiling. She then dropped her weapon and was taken into custody, the police report said.

Gilland was charged Monday with premeditated first-degree murder and two counts of aggression with intent to kill with a deadly weapon and remains in prison without bail. Her court-appointed public defender did not respond to an emailed request for comment.

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Neighbors of Gillands also did not return phone messages on Tuesday.

“This is a tragic situation,” the police chief said, “because it just goes to show that none of us are immune to life’s trials and tribulations.”

The Associated Press reports MIKE SCHNEIDER.