Man, 88, fatally shoots ailing wife at NJ hospital

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TOMS RIVER, N.J. (AP) -- An elderly man fatally shot his ailing wife in her hospital bed Friday and was in critical condition after turning the gun on himself, an official said.

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

The man 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 88-year-old man was wounded in the head. He was flown to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune.

It was not immediately clear what the 87-year-old woman was being treated for.

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