Man kills wife, self at Atlanta hospital

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

ATLANTA -- A 71-year-old man fatally shot his ailing wife in her hospital room and then killed himself Monday morning, authorities said.

Donald Shields walked into St. Joseph's Hospital at about 6 a.m. and shot his wife, Beverly, in her intensive care room before turning the gun on himself, said Fulton County Police spokesman Cpl. Gary Syblis.

The shootings were confined to one room and no other injuries were reported, police said.

Beverly Shields, 70, had suffered from a heart-related illness, Syblis said. He did not say what sort of treatment she had undergone, but said she had been in the hospital for several weeks and that her recovery was not going well.

Syblis would not speculate about a motive and declined to say how the man got a gun into his wife's hospital room.

A hospital spokeswoman declined to comment on the shooting, saying hospital officials were preparing a statement.

St. Joseph's, founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1880, is Atlanta's oldest hospital. The 360-bed facility in north Atlanta specializes in cardiac care.

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