6101 Pine Ridge Road, Naples, FL
NAPLES — A Golden Gate Estates Naples man entered a hospital patient’s room and fatally shot his estranged wife before shooting and wounding himself early Tuesday evening, Collier County sheriff’s officials said.
Christine Ann Moretz, 53, was killed while visiting a patient at Physician’s Regional-Pine Ridge about 5:40 p.m., Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Michelle Batten said. The shooter was identified as 54-year-old Jeffrey L. Moretz, of the 1200 block 17th Street Southwest, Batten said.
After turning the gun on himself, Jeffery Moretz was secured by hospital staff and transported by helicopter to another hospital. The hospital was shut down for about two hours following the shooting.
It was unclear which hospital Jeffery Moretz was flown to. He was in intensive care Tuesday night, Batten said.
“A single gunman entered a patient room and shot one individual before shooting himself,” Taylor Hamilton, a hospital spokeswoman, said in a statement. “Hospital security responded quickly and no other patients, visitors or associates were injured.”
Jeffery Moretz had not been arrested as of press time Tuesday night.
A motive for the shooting wasn’t immediately known, Batten said. It was also unclear whether Jeffery and Christine Moretz arrived at the patient’s room together or separately.
No address was available for Christine Moretz.
Collier County court records show Christine Moretz filed for divorce from Jeffery Moretz on June 17, with a final hearing set for July 25. As of April 2011, the most current date with available data, state business records indicate Jeffery Moretz was president of Master Builders and Remodelers, a Naples-based construction company, and Christine Moretz was the company’s vice president and secretary.
In August 2009, Jeffery Moretz was charged with one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill, but the charge was dropped in March 2010. The case stemmed from accusations that Moretz fired a gun into his home after his son complained about an uncomfortable trip to the dentist, according to an NBC-2 report.
Police scanner reports indicated Tuesday’s shooting took place on the hospital’s third floor, but Batten couldn’t confirm where the incident took place.
About a dozen Sheriff’s Office patrol cars surrounded the hospital, and firefighters from North Naples and Golden Gate assisted. Sheriff’s deputies roped off access to the hospital’s emergency entrance on the campus’ east side.
The hospital was shut down for a couple of hours after the shooting, reopening after 8 p.m. By that time, visiting hours had ended.
Hamilton said the hospital will have normal business hours today.
Estero residents Annette and Louis Gioia, who were waiting in a first-floor hallway immediately before the shooting, said a hospital employee pulled them into an X-ray room as a precaution. The couple had been on the third floor before coming down to the first floor for an X-ray.
“They told us there was a situation and it was because somebody had a gun,” Annette Gioia said. “We actually didn’t know if it was a routine test they put people through.”
The couple stayed in the room for about 10 minutes before being released. The hospital was relatively empty at the time, they said.
A few hospital employees trickled out of the southwest side of the campus after the shooting, though each was unaware of what had taken place.
Louis Gioia said there weren’t metal detectors at the hospital entrance he used. It is unclear which entrance the suspect went through. Batten could not confirm how the suspect entered the hospital with a gun.
“They did a very good job,” Louis Gioia said of the hospital staff. “I really didn’t see anybody panic.”