A husband and wife were killed in a New Hampshire hospital Tuesday in an apparent murder-suicide shooting that their friend told NECN was an "act of love," not a crime.
Mark and Katherine Lavoie both died after shots were fired just after 6 a.m. at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover, friends and family confirmed to NECN. Authorities have not revealed the pair's identities.
The New Hampshire attorney general's office said the investigation is still in its early stages, but the two deaths appear to be the result of a murder-suicide. Autopsies will be conducted to determine the cause and manner of the deaths.
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On Facebook, Mark Lavoie stated his anguished motives for wanting to take his wife's life, writing in part, "now because of my selfishness in dialing 911, she is experiencing the only thing she feared more than her illness, life-support on a respirator."
Barbara Hanson, a friend of the Lavoies, told NECN that it was not a crime, but an "act of love," and that the two were soulmates. According to Hanson, it wasn't a secret that Katherine Lavoie was battling depression, and she said she believes Katherine tried to commit suicide on Sunday night, which was when her husband called 911. Hanson said Katherine Lavoie ended up on life support at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital.
"He knew Kathy would not want to live as a vegetable, and I think he knew he would be so broken without her that he needed to be with her and that's why he did what he did," Hanson said, adding, "This was not something that was done out of hate or loathing or anger or despair. This is something that was done out of pure, absolute love."
Around 6 a.m. Tuesday, the attorney general's office said Dover Police responded to a 911 call from Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover reporting shots fired inside the facility. The responding officers found a dead man and his dead wife in a room inside the hospital's critical care unit.
"This morning at 6 a.m. in our ICU, a very sad and horrific event took place," hospital President Gregory Walker said at a press conference held outside the hospital on Tuesday afternoon. Asked for his thoughts when he first heard about the incident, he said, "I was very saddened, and sick."
He said the hospital remains open, and remained open throughout the day. He said counselors will be available on an ongoing basis for patients or staff members who need them.
Walker said the critical care unit consists of private rooms, and only family members have access. He said the hospital has a no firearms policy.
Investigators are withholding the identities of the deceased pending notification of their next of kin. Assistant Attorney General Jay McCormack said he does not anticipate that the names will be released on Tuesday.
"It's in the early stages," McCormack said. "We're not at liberty to release a lot."
According to Hanson, Katherine Lavoie had two daughters from a previous marriage.