October 30, 2017 6:47 pm
Updated: October 30, 2017 9:50 pm

Details emerge of elderly couple killed in Cobourg hospital ER shooting

This is the trailer park that Helen and Tom Ryan stayed at before their deaths October 27.

Dan Nyznik / CHEX News

At the Salem Woods Trailer Park in Colborne, Ont, just west of Brighton, those who knew Helen and Tom Ryan were shocked to learn of their deaths.

READ MORE: ‘Everyone stay in your room’: Elderly couple dead after shooting in Cobourg, Ont. hospital

Police say Friday evening, Tom Ryan, 70, was killed by police after they found Mr. Ryan’s wife dead.

The unlikely scene of these deaths was a triage room in the emergency department of Northumberland Hills Hospital.

Police say Mr. Ryan had been taken to hospital in an ambulance from their home in a trailer at Salem Woods Trailer Park. Mrs. Ryan, 76,  arrived in a separate ambulance later Friday evening.

“It’s kinda sad,” said neighbour Al Francis. “It’s kinda sad to see someone go through that.”

The details about what happened earlier in the day that might have led to the deaths are yet unclear.

Neighbours describe the couple as “normal,” and owners of the park report no sign of violence. Emergency services personnel say they were familiar with the couple, as firefighters had been called on more than one occasion to assist Mr. Ryan, who had difficulty lifting himself into the trailer without assistance.

David Melanson, Neighbour

Dan Nyznik / CHEX News

“Since they moved in, we really didn’t see much of them at all because they stayed inside their trailer,” Francis said. “I think there were some health issues there. Things aren’t going the way he wants them to go and I think that’s when he made a decision about what he did.”

What is clear from police is that both Mr. and Mrs. Ryan were lying side-by-side on separate gurneys in the Northumberland Hills Emergency Department around 11 p.m. Friday evening.

Helen Ryan, left, was born and raised in Campbellford, Ont.


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Police say Mrs. Ryan was found with a head wound, and Mr. Ryan was shot by two Cobourg Police officers who were called to the scene. Witnesses say they heard between eight and ten gunshots. There were no other injuries reported.

Neighbours at the trailer park say the couple was planning to leave for their ranch in Texas on Saturday. TheFacebook profile of Helen Ryan reveals that her husband had been diagnosed with cancer in 2015. There was no update available.

“It’s sad, it’s sad, especially when you see them, you know, a life like that at their age,” said neighbour David Melanson.

Tom Ryan weighed around 400 pounds. He was said to have no feeling in his legs, as well as a spinal injury. His wife’s health was also failing, neighbours said.

READ MORE: Man dead after shooting himself inside Foothills ER

Helen Ryan was born and raised in Campbellford, Ont. She studied opera at the Royal Conservatory of music in Toronto. The couple spent summers in Northumberland, and winters near Houston, Texas.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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