Man kills wife, himself at Wheat Ridge nursing home

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Joyce and Donald Schaffer

Joyce and Donald Schaffer

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WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. -- Police say a man shot his wife in broad daylight inside a Wheat Ridge nursing home and then fatally shot himself Sunday afternoon.

Wheat Ridge Police spokeswoman Lisa Spinder says Donald Schaffer, 66, went into the Wheatridge Manor Care Center at 2920 Fenton St. armed with a handgun and shot his wife, 69-year-old Joyce Schaffer, as she lay in her bed.

Both were found dead inside the nursing home bedroom.

"It's a sad day for our staff and our residents and we are really mourning for the family," says Jay Moskowitz, CEO of Wheat Ridge Manor.

"According to the family the couple had been inseparable until this period of time when they had been apart for about 10 months," Moskowitz adds.

"We heard a gunshot and we knew within seconds," he continues. 

Spinder says the couple had been married for 43 years. Joyce had been at the care center for about 10 months while she recovered from a broken hip.

Family and friends say they were a happily married couple.

The family issued a statement, “They were very much in love and after being separated for the last several months, we believe they are finally back together."

Douglas Schaffer, the couple's son released this additional statement;

"My dad knew his time was short and didn't want to leave her in the state she was in, in the nursing home. He loved my mom very much and now they're both in a better place."

Douglas Schaffer also says his mother battled MS for the past 20 years and his father was recently diagnosed with emphysema. 

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