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Man shoots wife, then self: Police

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An elderly man shot his wife early Saturday morning before turning the gun on himself in an apparent murder-suicide in their home on the border of Maspeth and Woodside, police said.

The couple was found dead with gunshot wounds to the head in their 72nd Place house about 1:15 a.m. Saturday by their niece, who was trying to plan a shopping trip with her aunt, police said.

Anton Wilfling, 79, and Emmy Wilfling, 81, were a very independent couple, but the pair had been suffering from serious illnesses in recent months, said a neighbor who asked that his name not be made public.

Emmy had been diagnosed with colon cancer and had debilitating arthritis, which gave her trouble walking, the neighbor said. Anton had a stroke at the beginning of December.

The couple was found by their niece, who became worried when repeated phone calls went unanswered, police said. She had been trying to reach Emmy Wilfling to plan a post-Christmas shopping excursion Saturday. The niece, whose name was not released, went to the couple’s home and found their bodies on a bed upstairs, police said.

The city medical examiner reported that Anton had shot Emmy in the head and then killed himself, spokeswoman Ellen Borakove said.

No note was found at the scene, but a .38-caliber Smith and Wesson revolver was recovered, police said.

The couple, known to neighbors as Tony and Emily, had lived on the block for at least 35 years and also owned a home in the town of Andes in the Catskill Mountains, the neighbor said. They did not have any children, he said.

The two were avid animal lovers, however, and had two Rottweiler dogs, he said.

By noon on Saturday, a plain white envelope addressed “To the family of Tony and Emily” had been taped to the door of the couple’s home in tribute to the pair.

“They were friendly, nice,” a neighbor said. “They were the kind of neighbors you want. It’s just a shock to everyone on the block.”

Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com, or by phone at 229-0300, Ext. 138.

Updated 10:25 am, October 12, 2011
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