Massillon man faces court in wife's shooting at Akron General Medical Center

AKRON, Ohio -  A coroner's office scheduled an autopsy Monday for a northwest Ohio woman who was shot in her bed at a hospital's intensive care unit, allegedly by her husband in what police believe was a mercy killing.

Capt. Dan Zampelli said an initial court appearance for John Wise likely wouldn't come until at least Tuesday or even Wednesday. He said police needed results of the autopsy to decide what charge would be appropriate.

Police say Wise entered 65-year-old Barbara Wise's hospital room Saturday and shot her while standing at her bedside. She was declared dead at Akron General Medical Center Sunday morning.

Wise, 66, currently faces an attempted aggravated murder charge, but Zampelli said he anticipates that will increase to some type of murder charge.

"He's been cooperative and forthcoming with the investigators," he said. "He's given a statement to the investigators. It's certainly helping to assist with their investigation."

Wise is under police guard in an undisclosed location, said Zampelli. He will soon be booked into the Summit County jail. No attorney is assigned to him yet.

Jim Gosky, a spokesman for the medical center, said one shot was fired in the ICU room on the third floor. Security officers responded from the ground floor after an emergency code was issued. A pop sound also drew a physician's attention to respond.

"It was an isolated incident," Gosky said. "No other staff was in harm."

Zampelli said John Wise immediately surrendered to security at the hospital. They restrained him until Akron police arrived.

Officials are looking into whether John Wise shot his wife in an attempted mercy killing, Zampelli said.

Zampelli says "it seems to be slanting that way. He wanted to take away her suffering."

He said police are still trying to determine why Barbara Wise had been in the hospital. He confirmed she had been in critical condition.

"We are in the preliminary stages of the investigation," Zampelli said. "Certainly him wanting to end his wife's suffering is one of the motives we're looking into."

The couple had been married 45 years.

Massillon Fire Chief Tom Burgasser said emergency personnel responded to the Wises' residence on July 28 for a medical call. He said privacy rules prevented him from releasing additional information, but he said the department treated a patient for a medical condition that involved advanced life support including oxygen, a heart monitor and IV.

Burgasser could not confirm if the patient was Barbara Wise, but said the patient was taken to Affinity Medical Center in Massillon.

A message left for an Affinity Medical Center spokeswoman was not immediately returned.

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