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Fargo man shot his wife, then himself when poisoning failed. Now he's charged with murder.

Fargo police found a woman dead and a man with a gunshot wound at an apartment complex in the 300 block of Prairiewood Circle South on Saturday, June 2. David Samson / The Forum

FARGO – An elderly couple in poor health reportedly tried to commit suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning over the weekend. When that didn’t work, the husband got a handgun and shot his wife in the chest, according to Fargo police.

The husband then turned the gun on himself and fired a bullet into his own chest, police said. The husband survived the shooting, his wife did not.

Police publicly identified the couple on Monday, June 4, as Louis and Ila Averson, both 85.

Court records show that Louis Averson was charged Monday with murder in Cass County District Court. A warrant has been issued for his arrest, and court records did not list an attorney for him.

The shooting happened Saturday morning, June 2, at an apartment complex in the 300 block of Prairiewood Circle South where the Aversons lived.

Officers were dispatched to the scene at about 5:25 a.m. Saturday after a passer-by reported that a man was yelling for help in his garage because he was shot, Fargo police said in a Facebook post.

As officers were arriving, the passer-by told 911 dispatchers that the man, later identified as Louis Averson, said he had shot his wife who was in a vehicle parked in the garage, according to police.

Officers found Louis Averson wounded and crawling away from the vehicle toward the overhead garage door. He was taken to a local emergency room to be treated for a gunshot wound to the left side of his chest. His injuries are not believed to be life-threatening, police said.

Officers also found a woman, later identified as Ila Averson, sitting in the vehicle with a gunshot wound to the chest. She was pronounced dead by medics at the scene.

The couple reportedly had been trying to fatally poison themselves with carbon monoxide by running their vehicle in a closed garage. After that failed, Louis Averson retrieved a handgun, police said.

Louis and Ila Averson “are and were in failing health,” police said on Facebook, but did not describe their ailments.

It’s unclear whether Louis Averson is still hospitalized. He was not being held at the Cass County Jail as of Monday evening.

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