An elderly Washington Township man fatally shot his wife of 65 years as she lay in their bed, then turned the gun on himself, police said.

The murder-suicide happened sometime Tuesday at a home in the 200 block of Bermudian Church Road, York County Chief Deputy Coroner Claude Stabley said.

Jeanette Brown, 84, suffered a single gunshot wound to the head, Stabley said.

Her husband, 85-year-old Sherman Brown, then sat in a bedroom chair and shot himself in the head, according to Stabley.

State police said they were called to the home at 9:12 p.m. Tuesday by the couple's son, who went there to check on them.

Sherman Brown did not leave a note, according to Stabley, who said Jeanette Brown had health issues.

"(Her husband) was one of the caregivers for her," he said.

There was a recent change in her health that exacerbated her condition, Stabley said.

She was suffering from terminal cancer and her health was significantly deteriorating, according to Trooper Rob Hicks, a state police spokesman.

Jeanette Brown was sleeping when she was shot, Hicks said.

Sherman Brown used a .22-caliber rifle to kill his wife and himself, police said.

-- Staff writer Liz Evans Scolforo can also be reached at