A 77-year-old man in Ferndale, Wash., killed his wife, then himself in an apparent murder-suicide because of medical costs he couldn’t pay.
He called 911 on Wednesday morning and told the dispatcher, “I am going to shoot myself.”
He said he had written a note with information and instructions for authorities.
The dispatcher tried to keep the man on the line, but he hung up after saying, “We will be in the front bedroom.”
Whatcom County Sheriff’s deputies arrived 15 minutes later and set up a perimeter around the house as a crisis negotiator attempted to contact the man via phone and a bullhorn for almost an hour.
Deputies used a robot mounted camera to enter the house where they discovered the man lying next to his wife, age 76. Both were dead from apparent gunshot wounds.
Detectives found several notes citing “severe ongoing medical problems with the wife” and “expressing concerns that the couple did not have sufficient resources to pay for medical care.”
“It is very tragic that one of our senior citizens would find himself in such desperate circumstances where he felt murder and suicide were the only option,” Sheriff Bill Elfo said.
Two dogs were also found in the home and turned over to the local humane society. “Numerous” firearms were impounded for safekeeping, the sheriff said.