Deputies: Man shoots wife, kills self

Investigators say husband visiting woman at care facility opened fire

Published On: Oct 10 2012 04:37:05 PM EDT   Updated On: Oct 11 2012 09:19:33 AM EDT

A man visiting his wife at an assisted living facility Wednesday afternoon shot her, then killed himself, according to the Clay County Sheriff's Office.

James Stanton, 75, died of a gunshot wound at Life Care Center on Kingsley Avenue about 3:30 p.m. His wife, 68-year-old Patricia Stanton, a patient at the facility, was critically injured and taken to nearby Orange Park Medical Center.

Deputies said no other people were involved and no one else was in danger.

Friends and neighbors of James and Patricia Stanton said Patricia went into the hospital a few weeks ago with medical problems and he had told them he was struggling to care for her.

Friends also told Channel 4 that within the last 24 hours they tried to talk to James Stanton and that he seemed to have no problems. One neighbor who lives next door to the couple was shaken up, but told Channel 4 he's known the couple for a long time.

"I've known him for a good 10 years, can't understand why this happened," said the neighbor.

There have been numerous fatal cases of domestic violence since the start of 2012 in northeast Florida. Prior to Wednesday's incident, there have been five fatal cases in Duval County, two in St. Johns County and one in Clay County.

"I am going to miss Mr. Jim, I can't understand it, I honestly can't," said a neighbor.

Investigators said they're looking into how Stanton got the gun into the facility, though it's unclear what the facility's policy is regarding firearms. Deputies said multiple shots were fired.

The regional vice president of the Life Care Center told Channel 4 they have security and a sign-in policy for guests and they've "never had an incident like this."

Deputies said the facility was locked down, but was not evacuated immediately following the shootings.

The center cares for people recovering after medical procedures.