A tragic incident unfolded at the CareOne Wellington Facility in Hackensack on Saturday morning when an elderly man shot and killed his terminally ill wife before turning the gun on himself.
The murder-suicide has left the community in shock and raised questions about the challenges faced by families dealing with end-of-life care.
The victims were identified as Patricia Zaccario, 73, and Michael Zaccario, 76, residents of Wood-Ridge.
Michael F Zaccario (age 75) is listed at 158 Palmer Ter Wood Ridge, Nj 07075 and is affiliated with the Republican Party. Michael is registered to vote in Bergen County, New Jersey.
Patricia, who was terminally ill, was living at the nursing home at the time of the incident.
The couple was found lifeless from gunshot wounds inside the facility at 8:51 a.m., according to the Hackensack Police Department.
Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella confirmed that Michael Zaccario fatally shot his wife before taking his own life. The motive behind the tragic act remains unclear, leaving investigators searching for answers.
Hackensack Mayor John Labrosse Jr expressed his condolences to the Zaccario family and the community, stating, “This is a heartbreaking incident, and our thoughts are with everyone affected by this tragedy.”
The Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit, led by Chief Jason Love, is collaborating with the Hackensack Police Department, under the direction of Officer-in-Charge Captain Michael Antista, to conduct a thorough investigation into the murder-suicide.
So far, authorities have not indicated any involvement of a third party in the deaths.
CareOne, the operator of the Wellington facility, released a statement expressing their deep sadness over the incident.
CareOne spokesperson Anna Robinson stated, “We are deeply saddened by the tragedy that took place at our Wellington building today. Our hearts go out to the victims’ family and loved ones. We will be providing our staff and residents with the support they need in this difficult time.”
The company also assured full cooperation with the local police department and emphasized their commitment to respecting the investigation’s proceedings and the privacy of those affected.
CareOne is a prominent provider of assisted-living and skilled-nursing facilities, operating 55 locations across the country.
In New Jersey alone, they manage 36 homes, with additional facilities in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.