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Halifax Health adds planned security after shooting at AdventHealth Daytona Beach

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Halifax Health added metal detectors and plans to install X-ray machines that will more quickly scan guests for weapons and other banned items.

The system says metal detectors had been in the works for months but expedited the installation after a woman was charged with killing her terminally ill husband at a nearby hospital.

Visitors to Halifax Health Medical Center in Volusia County will officially have to walk through metal detectors before entering the building.

Hospital officials say they had already been discussing installing the detectors, but they expedited the installation after police said a woman shot and killed her terminally ill husband Saturday at AdventHealth Daytona Beach, about five miles away.

The hospital system has also increased security measures at the entrance of the hospital including bag checks for all visitors. Visitors already needed to show ID and check in at the front desk to enter the hospital.

In the coming months, Halifax Health will install X-ray machines that will more quickly scan guests for weapons and other banned items.

“Unfortunately, that’s the new way of the world that we live in,” Chief Operations Officer Alberto Tineo told local media.

Plans to add security at all Halifax Health facilities were developed after a 2014 shooting at the medical center. Metal detectors were installed at its Deltona hospital when it opened three years ago. and the hospital approved adding similar measures to other locations last year.

AdventHealth has not announced any increased security measures as of Wednesday.

Police have released an account of the Saturday shooting and its aftermath on a floor for terminally ill patients at AdventHealth Daytona Beach.

Police say Ellen Gilland had planned a suicide pact with her husband for weeks before she fatally shot him at AdventHealth Daytona Beach hospital.
Volusia County Division of Corrections
via AP
Police say Ellen Gilland had planned a suicide pact with her husband for weeks before she fatally shot him at AdventHealth Daytona Beach hospital.

In a planned murder-suicide, Ellen Gilland, 76, would fatally shoot her terminally ill, 77-year-old husband, Jerry, and then kill herself, investigators said. But after shooting him in the head in the 11th-floor hospital room, she couldn’t carry through with the rest.

Instead, still armed, Gilland was in a four-hour standoff with police until officers were able to use a nonlethal explosive to distract and take her into custody.

The couple hatched the plan three weeks ago, Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young said. During a conversation, he said, they decided that if Jerry Gilland's illness took a turn for the worse, “he wanted her to end this."

“Apparently the goal was for him to do it, but he didn’t have the strength so she had to carry it out,” Young said.

So they turned to “a murder suicide in which she would kill herself,” the police chief said. “But she decided she couldn’t go through with it.”

After hearing a gunshot from Room 1106, two hospital workers entered and saw Ellen Gilland sitting beside the bed with her husband unresponsive in a pool of blood. She pointed the weapon at the pair and told them to leave the room, which smelled of burnt gunpowder, according to a police report. Another staffer also entered and was told to leave at gunpoint.

Employees then began evacuating people from nearby rooms, according to the report. The police chief called it “a logistical nightmare" since most of the patients on the 11th floor were on ventilators.

After officers arrived, they lined up in the hallway with guns drawn toward the open door of Room 1106. Police repeatedly yelled, “Drop the gun!" according to video from an officer's body camera recorded about 10 minutes after the shooting.

“Tell me what's going on. We don't want to hurt you,” one officer called out. Another told a colleague, “Back up. Back up. We got time. We got nothing but time.”

After about four hours, SWAT team members used a nonlethal explosive device to distract Ellen Gilland and entered the room. They tried to use a stun gun, but it failed to subdue her and she fired a shot into the ceiling. Then she dropped the weapon and was taken into custody, the police report said.

Gilland was charged Monday with premeditated first-degree murder and two counts of aggressive assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, and remained jailed without bond. Her court-appointed public defender didn't respond to an emailed request for comment.

“It’s a tragic circumstance,” the police chief said, “because it just shows that none of us are immune from the trials and tribulations of life.”

Copyright 2023 Health News Florida

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