Police say Renita Williams Dozier, a former employee at the nursing home, came to the facility at 10:45 a.m. Tuesday and held two people hostage.
Police, along with a hostage negotiator, tried to talk to Dozier, hoping to end the standoff. Four hours later, authorities say Dozier shot herself in the chest. Authorities say the two hostages were not injured in the incident.
"She was not in her right mind, thinking of where she was going. It appears this was her intent -- a situation that she didn't want to live," said Lt. Katherine Bryant, of the Fayetteville Police Department.
Dozier and her hostages were in an office or conference-type room with desks, not in an area occupied by residents, authorities said. Authorities also found three guns in the room. Although they were in harm's way, police say Dozier apparently never threatened to hurt them.
People in nearby apartments were evacuated during the standoff, but Harold Nunn, a co-owner of the home, said its 81 residents stayed inside and were kept in safe areas within the facility.
Dozier was transported to Cape Fear Valley Center, where she later died.
Authorities said Dozier resigned a few weeks ago. Authorities do not know why she came back to the facility.
The owners of the rest home were not immediately familiar with Dozier's work history. They just took over May 1.