Update: 4:05 p.m.
Thomas Ballenger is a retired Jackson firefighter with a long history of service in Hinds County.
The Jackson Fire Department sent this statement late Wednesday afternoon.
“To the family of Thomas and Rebecca Ballenger, this family has suffered a great loss. On behalf of Fire Chief, Willie G. Owens and the entire Jackson Fire Department, we are so very sorry for your loss.” Our condolences and prayers are with the entire family at this time.
It was a gruesome scene at Woodland’s Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center Tuesday night. That’s when Clinton Police responded to a report of gunshots at a nursing home.
Lt. Josh Frazier with Clinton Police Department said, “Officers arrived and immediately located the suspect. The victim is being identified as 70-year-old Rebecca Ballenger.”
Clinton Police said it was her husband Thomas Ballenger who shot Rebecca with a 38 caliber revolver. Wednesday he was charged with murder. Frazier said there was no altercation. In fact, Rebecca may have asked her husband to take her life.
Frazier said, “They were married. They were each other’s shadows. They cared for each other a lot. But there is some indication the victim said she did not want to live like that.”
Rebecca had been a patient at the nursing home since November. That’s when she suffered a stroke. Clinton police said Thomas Ballenger would frequently visit his wife. He had become a familiar face with the nursing staff at the facility.
Frazier said “They are all in shock. We spoke to nurses last night. They got to know the Ballenger’s over the last month. Knew them as good people. Both of them. This is a tragic situation for all parties involved.”
Clinton Police said the Ballengers’ had been married over 40 years. Lt. Josh Frazier said it was the saddest case he’d ever worked.
Thomas Ballenger (70) has been charged with the murder of his wife Rebecca (70) at Woodland Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Clinton.
According to police, Ballenger had a stroke earlier in the year and had begged her husband to take her life.
Lt. Josh Frazier says administration says Ballenger spent a great deal of time with his wife at the center since she was admitted in November.
The two were married for more than forty years.
Police say a judge will visit Ballenger in custody later today.