VENICE, LOS ANGELES (KABC) --A husband and wife in their 80s were found dead in an apparent murder-suicide in Venice, Los Angeles police said on Wednesday.
The husband, 83, was found hanging from a tree in the back yard with a gunshot wound to the head. His wife, 85, was found dead inside the house with a gunshot wound to the head, police said.
Investigators said it appears the husband shot the wife first, then took his own life.
The deaths were reported shortly after 8 a.m. from the 1000 block of Palms Boulevard.
According to police, construction workers on the job at the house next door saw "something hanging" on Tuesday but thought it was a prank. When they saw it again on Wednesday, they reported it to police.
William Ruiz and his construction crew had a birds-eye view from next door.
"He got a shot in the head, and the nose was black," Ruiz said. That's when Ruiz realized this was not a prank.
When Ruiz called 911, he said the dispatcher told him to run over to see if he could help save the man's life
"I said, 'No, he's dead.' He said, 'Go and disconnect it.' I said, 'No I'm not going to do that.' He said, 'Why, you don't want to help that person?' I said, 'Yes, but he's already dead from yesterday,'" Ruiz recalled.
Police said in a lengthy suicide note, the husband revealed his wife had been diagnosed with dementia, indicating they previously discussed taking their own lives.
Several neighbors were unaware of the woman's illness, describing the couple as happy and healthy..
Ruiz said the discovery has left both him and his crew shaken up.
"Actually we want to go home. Yeah, because it's not normal, you see a body over there in the backyard and the lady is dead, too," Ruiz said.
It remains unclear if the two had other family members.