Daytona Beach sergeant credited with crisis negotiations in hospital shooting

Ellen Gilland, 76, faces charges of murder and aggravated assault

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Police in Daytona Beach said that on Saturday, Ellen Gilland, 76, shot and killed her terminally ill husband in his hospital room and wouldn’t come out.

Police then sent their negotiation team in.

Sgt. Robert Ransom had just recently retired from the department’s crisis negotiation team, but he said he was patrolling nearby when the call went out: shots fired inside AdventHealth Daytona Beach. His instincts kicked in, and he responded.

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“The other officers were already on the way, but time is of the essence, so I immediately began negotiations,” he said.

On police body camera video from Saturday, Ransom can be seen outside of a hospital door, gun drawn and trying to look in the room.

“We had a person with a gunshot wound, and she was still alive in the room and was pointing a weapon out the door and that’s when we took a step back and slowed things down,” he said.

Inside the room, police said Gilland shot and killed her terminally ill husband. She eventually told investigators he had been ill for some time, he was her only family left, and they made the plans for him to kill her and then himself, but he didn’t have the strength, so she took the gun and shot him.

Ransom was there to stop her from finishing the plan.

“Try to help her see that there are options for her, and taking her life was not a good one,” he said.

Ransom said he spoke to Gilland through the crack of the door for almost three and a half hours while she was holding the gun the entire time.

“She knew where I was standing and she saw the edge of my face and she goes, ‘Oh, you have grey hair,’ and I responded, ‘Yes, ma’am,’ and I said, ‘In fact, I think I’m a lot older than you think I am,’ and we talked a little bit about that, about her age and my age,” he said.

He said it was one of the more difficult conversations during negotiations he’s had. He said she shared stories about her husband and the life they had.

“There were times where the stories touched home for me, and I shared my stories with her, if nothing else than to show her that we’re in the moment of today and to get her to where she was a little calmer,” he said.

Eventually, though, officers said they used a flashbang to distract her, and she shot a round into the ceiling. She was taken into custody.

Ransom and the negotiations team were credited for saving her life, but he said he sees why she may not feel that way.

“With having that conversation with her, I don’t know. I don’t know if she will look at it as the same way. She might later. Whether she did that night or not, I don’t know, but I’d like to think that I did what I had to do that day to ensure her safety,” he said.

Gilland now facing first degree murder and aggravated assault charges. She’s set to be arraigned in court on Feb. 14.

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Molly joined News 6 at the start of 2021, returning home to Central Florida.