Man kills wife, himself in hospice murder-suicide
ALLENTOWN, Pa. — Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin said an 86-year-old man shot and killed his wife then turned the gun on himself Tuesday afternoon in the hospice ward of Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown.
Mildred Osman, 83, was found dead in her bed, Martin said. Elwood Osman was also found dead in the room. Mildred Osman was in hospice care. No one else was in the room, according to Martin.
Elwood Osman was distraught, according to his son, Thomas Osman, and wanted to end his wife’s suffering. Thomas Osman said his mother suffered from spinal stenosis and macular degeneration, and recently had a stroke.
“He unfortunately only saw one solution left anymore,” Thomas Osman said. “And we believe he got (the) handgun and did what he did.” Thomas Osman said his father killed his mother and himself as an act of mercy.
“This was a loving couple,” he said. “I am upset, of course, but all I have is love and respect for my father and my mother.”
Martin said at 1:03 p.m. three hospital staff members on the fourth floor heard a gunshot coming from one of the hospice rooms. He said the incident was contained to the one patient room.
“I don’t have any more detail I am prepared to release,” Martin said about 2 p.m. at the hospital complex.
“There were no eyewitnesses to this event.”
No one may have seen the shooting, but other people heard the shots. Sitting on a bench in a small courtyard outside the hospital, a woman who refused to give her name said she was on the fourth floor visiting her mother when she heard the gunfire.
“We were in my mother’s room and we heard two gunshots,” the woman, who was with a friend, said.
She and her friend said the gunshots sounded like balloons popping.
“I’ve never heard gunshots before,” the woman said.
Her mother’s room was beside the one where the murder-suicide took place, she said. Her mother remained in her room.
According to the hospital’s website, those eligible for hospice care are patients who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness, those with less than six months to live and those who choose care focused on making themselves comfortable rather than curing their illness.
Martin said the hospital was not evacuated.
“This is a very tragic event and our hearts go out to the family of the deceased and our Lehigh Valley Health Network colleagues who were involved,” Lehigh Valley Hospital said in a news release.