LOS ANGELES (AP) — A 60-year-old man is accused of fatally shooting his dementia-stricken wife Wednesday and then walking into a convalescent home and killing his sister as she lay in a vegetative state, in what Los Angeles police describe as "apparent mercy killings."
Police identified the suspect as Lance Holger Anderson of suburban Santa Clarita and said he was booked into jail Wednesday.
Anderson surrendered to officers at the Country Villa Sheraton nursing facility in the North Hills area of Los Angeles, Lt. Paul Vernon said.
A small-caliber handgun was recovered at the scene.
It wasn't immediately clear if Anderson had a lawyer who could comment on the case. Calls to home and cellphone numbers listed in public records went unanswered. The nursing home didn't immediately return phone calls.
The sister, who was shot once in the head, was identified as Lisa Nave, 58. Los Angeles police Detective Juan Santa said Nave had been at the nursing home for about five years and had been in a vegetative state or coma.
After learning of Nave's death, family members called Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies and requested a welfare check on Anderson's wife, Vernon said.
Deputies found the 63-year-old wife's body at a home in the north Los Angeles County community of Canyon Country, sheriff's Lt. Holly Francisco said.
Francisco said the wife died of a single gunshot wound from a small-caliber handgun. She would not release the woman's name.
According to family, the wife was suffering from dementia, Vernon said. He characterized the shootings as "apparent mercy killings."
David Chabolla lives next door to the nursing home. He said it sounded like a balloon had popped when the gunshot went off.
"Everybody thought it was a balloon until they went in that room," Chabolla said. "And I guess they saw her. Then that's when all the commotion started."
Santa, the LAPD detective, said a man in the nursing-home courtyard "made some statements that led officers to believe that he was involved" and he was taken into custody.
The man "was just sitting down right in the patio," Chabolla said. "I didn't know it was him. I just saw him with his head down like that."