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Elderly Couple Dead After Apparent Murder-Suicide

May 3, 2014, 10:00 PM by Leland Steva

Elderly Couple Dead After Apparent Murder-Suicide

A murder-suicide involving an elderly couple in Worthington is rattling the small town and the nursing home where it happened.

Police say a husband shot and killed his wife at Crossroads Care Center before shooting himself late last night in her room.

Barb Atchison has been a part of the Crossroads Care Center for 33 years, but yesterday was a day she will never forget, and for all the wrong reasons.

"Everyone is kind of numb. As I walked around and asked people how they're doing that's pretty much the predominant comment is just kind of numb," Barb Atchison said. 

Late Friday, Worthington Police arrived at the nursing home after receiving a call that shots were fired. Becky Shirkey was visiting her grandma just down the hall from the room when she heard the three shots.

"It was unexpected. It was loud. I had no idea what it was. The last thing I thought was a gunshot until someone said call 911 and then I guess I was just in shock," Becky Shirkey said.

Police say they found 87-year-old George Doust sitting on a bed with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. 86-year-old Doris Doust was on a different bed with a gunshot wound to her head. The couple was rushed to the Worthington Regional Medical Center before being sent to Sioux Falls, where they were pronounced dead. Doris was living at the care center, while George was living in a home in Worthington. When Atchison received the call about the shooting at Crossroads, she was shocked to hear the two people involved.

"Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever though that it could occur with a resident and her spouse," Atchison said.

Doust was living inside this care center for the last two weeks and during that time Atchison says the couple was very friendly to the staff. Which makes what happened last night, she says, even more unexpected.

"This gentleman did not have any change in mood. He was pleasant from day one. Loved to talk with the staff and both he and his wife were just really, really nice people to work with and to work for," Atchison said.

Even with the shooting at the nursing facility which is shaking up the residents and staff, Atchison believes the home that takes care of around 50 people to be safe.

"Some people heard about it and called in asking if it was safe to come to work and we assured them that it was. Crossroads is a safe place to live and to work and this was an isolated situation," Atchison said.

Because of privacy laws, we were unable to find out what brought Doris to the facility.

The Worthington Police Department is still investigating the shooting.

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