Man shoots ailing wife, sister in 'mercy killings'

By Kyle Johnson,

A Los Angeles man shot and killed his wife, who has dementia, and his sister, who is in a vegetative state, on Wednesday.

The 60-year-old Lance Holger Anderson surrendered to police outside of the Country Villa Sheraton nursing facility where his sister was, Lt. Paul Vernon said, The Associated Press reports. Vernon is calling the murders, "apparent mercy killings."

Anderson's wife suffered from dementia and his sister had been in a vegetative state for the past five years.

Police found the suspect "just sitting down right in the patio," witness David Chabolla said. "I didn't know it was him. I just saw him with his head down like that." Chabolla lives next door to the nursing home and described the gunshot sounding like a balloon being popped.

The Los Angeles Times reports that according to police, Anderson recently gave away his Christmas tree, noting that it wasn't needed this year.

He gave the tree to neighbor Grace Madrigal who said Anderson told her, "We're not having Christmas this year." She also described the way he treated his wife in the previous months very well as if she "was a jewel."

Vernon explained the use of the term "mercy killings": "I want people to understand that this man did not randomly walk into a hospital to commit this crime. He knew his sister was there in a vegetative state."


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