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July 29, 2014

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Police: Man who shot paralyzed wife was planning murder-suicide

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Carson City Sheriff Department / AP

This photo provided by the Carson City Sheriff ‘s Department shows William Dresser.

Updated Monday, Jan. 20, 2014 | 4:08 p.m.

An 88-year-old man who shot his wife in the chest in a Carson City hospital on Sunday told police he was trying to carry out a murder-suicide because the woman was paralyzed and didn't want to live, authorities said.

William Dresser was arrested Sunday after firing one shot with small-caliber semi-automatic handgun that struck his wife in the chest at Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center, Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong said. Dresser reportedly told police that he had brought two bullets for her and two for himself, but the gun jammed after his first shot.

Immediately afterward, Dresser "was crying and mumbled words to the effect of, 'I did not accomplish my goal,' " the investigating officer wrote in a probable cause statement.

The woman, who had been a patient on the third floor of the hospital, was transferred to Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno with a life-threatening injury, Furlong said. Her name and age were not immediately released.

Dresser was booked into the Carson City Jail on suspicion of attempted murder and was on suicide watch, the sheriff said. His bail was set at $225,000, he said.

Dresser, who recently bought the gun, came to his wife's room in the rehabilitation ward, where she was alone, and shot her in the chest, Furlong said. No details of why she was admitted to the hospital were released, but officials don't suspect foul play.

Hospital security personnel and state Department of Corrections officials at the scene quickly detained the man until sheriff's deputies arrived.

Dresser has no known criminal history in the Carson City area, Furlong said.

Authorities are still investigating the man's claims about his wife's paralysis and wishes to die.

"While Mr. Dresser thinks he's maybe doing something right, he couldn't be more wrong," Furlong said. "It has severely traumatized all the staff up there at the hospital."

The shooting comes about a month after a gunman walked into a medical facility next to the Reno hospital and killed one doctor and shot another before committing suicide.

Alan Oliver Frazier, 51, made it clear in a suicide note that he was targeting physicians at Urology Nevada in the Dec. 17 attack.

Frazier complained of pain and fatigue for years in an Internet chat room and to neighbors— symptoms he blamed on a botched vasectomy that the center disputes.

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