On Saturday, January 21st, Ellen Gilland, 76, of New Smyrna Beach, Florida, allegedly shot and killed her terminally ill husband, Jerry Gilland, in his hospital bed on the 11th floor of AdventHealth Daytona Beach. At the time there was one other patient in the room with Gilland.
Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young said in a statement that the Daytona Beach Police Department was summoned to AdventHealth at approximately 11:35 AM on Saturday, January 21st, in response to a shooting. Ellen Gilland was found barricaded in her husband’s hospital room with a gun in hand.
“Upon arrival, our officers were directed to the 11th floor, where they encountered an elderly female who had apparently shot her terminally ill husband,” Young said at a news conference.
Young said the Hostage Negotiation Team was able to establish communication with Gilland. She told authorities she and her husband planned his death approximately three weeks prior if his condition continued to worsen. Allegedly, he had planned to commit suicide but was too weak to do so. As a result, Gilland carried it out for him, shooting him in the head. Gilland was planning to commit suicide but was unable to go through with it.
Young said he was unsure how Gilland got a gun into the hospital. He is unaware of any metal detectors at the facility. He said there was never a threat to staff or patients. However, patients in the surrounding area were evacuated. He said this was a “logistical nightmare” because “pretty much all the patients on that floor are on ventilators.” Some patients had to be moved to a different floor.
Young said around 3:00 PM officers were able to distract Gilland. They deployed a flash-bang device and were able to take her into custody.
Young said of Gilland, “She’s very sad. This is obviously a…it’s a tough situation. So her husband is terminally ill so she was already in a depressed state just based on her husband being terminally ill, knowing that the end was near….It’s a tragic circumstance. It just shows that none of us are immune to the trials and tribulations of life.”
View the full press release by the Daytona Beach Police Chief here
Gilland was arrested and charged with first-degree premeditated murder and three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. If convicted of first-degree premeditated murder, a capital felony in the State of Florida, Gilland could be sentenced to death or face life in prison without parole. Gilland is being held at Volusia County Branch Jail.
“It’s a tragic circumstance because it just shows that none of us are immune from the trials and tribulations of life,” Young said.
Cardiologist, Dr. Joshua Horenstein, said during an interview, it was a scary event as it unfolded. He said initially when a Code Yellow was called, “yellow is not something anyone has ever heard before, so people were looking on their badges to see what that even means, and it says lockdown.” He said they were “looking at each other like lockdown, what are we supposed to do.” He went on to say as soon as the Code Silver was called “sort of pandemonium started.” He said patients were placed behind closed doors, and he and a nurse went into the supply closet for approximately 30 to 40 minutes until they started getting updates on Twitter.
Statement By AdventHealth
In a statement released on Saturday, AdventHealth said, “We are devastated
by the tragedy that unfolded at the AdventHealth Daytona Beach campus today and our prayers are with those impacted. We are grateful for the
Daytona Beach Police Department in helping ensure the safety of our patients, team members, and visitors.”
This is an ongoing investigation. Nurse.org has reached out to AdventHealth for additional comments regarding the incident and received an email with “no additional comments at this time”.