A California man has been accused of fatally shooting both his wife who was sickened with dementia on Wednesday and his sister who was in a coma. Los Angeles police are calling the two murders “apparent mercy killings”.
Police investigators named the alleged suspect as Lance Holger Anderson, age 60, of Santa Clarita. He was booked into a California jail Wednesday.
Anderson gave himself up to authorities at the nursing facility, which is located in the northern hills area of Los Angeles, stated Lt. Paul Vernon.
California state police recovered a small-caliber handgun at the nursing home.
It was not directly known if the suspect had an attorney who would be able to give any comments on the case.
Anderson’s sister, who was shot one time in her head, was identified as being Lisa Nave, age 58. Los Angeles police detective Juan Santa explained that Nave had been a resident at the nursing facility for around five years and was in the vegetative state for that time. He shot her around 9 a.m. There were two other patients who lay comatose in the same room where Nave was, but they were not hurt.
One neighbor next to the nursing home states that it sounded like a balloon had popped when the gunshot was heard.
Everyone believed it was a balloon until they entered the room and saw the resident. That was when all the tumult began.
Police said they are calling the shootings “mercy killings” because in terms of describing them, this man did not randomly commit either crime. He knew his sister was in a coma, and that his wife was suffering from dementia.
Santa stated that a man who was sitting at a nursing home patio with his head down seemed suspicious. He was questioned and made statements that caused the police to think he was involved with the shooting. So the man was arrested.
When they learned of Nave’s murder, family members called the Los Angeles County sheriff’s department in order to request a welfare check on Anderson’s wife.
Deputies ended up finding the body of the wife, who was 63 years of age, at her and Anderson’s home. It was in the Los Angeles County region of Canyon Country, stated Lt. Holly Francisco.
It was told that the suspect supposedly gave away the family Christmas tree, explaining that he would not need it this year. Neighbors who live in the apartment complex where the couple resided stated that Anderson and his wife had moved there about six months ago.
One apartment neighbor said that Anderson was very careful with his wife. She stated that the suspect always was caressing his wife’s hand, and treating her so gently, almost like a China doll. He took very good care of her. To know that he killed her was shocking.
Most of the Canyon Country neighborhood was extremely quiet Wednesday afternoon, except for a few television news vans and a couple of California state police cars. Most residents did not know the shootings had even occurred.
The California man who has shot both his wife and sister now awaits sentencing.
By Kimberly Ruble