Friends of a real estate broker who was found shot to death early Sunday say they are shocked that her "teddy bear" of a husband has been charged in connection with the incident.

Peel Regional Police have charged the husband of Susan Ryan with second-degree murder after the woman was found shot to death in her Mississauga home at around 8 a.m. Sunday morning.

Her husband, Lawrence Kenneth Ryan, 58, was also found suffering from minor injuries. Police took him to hospital for treatment before arresting him.

Friends said Susan Ryan was the former president of the Mississauga Real Estate Board, an avid volunteer and an active member in the city's business community who was close friends with Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion.

Her colleagues described the woman as being extremely generous, donating her time to associations like Big Brothers, social housing projects and victims' services.

Lawrence Ryan recently retired from the Toronto Police Service after working 30 years as an officer. He was most recently stationed at 22 Division. His colleagues wouldn't comment on the charges, saying they had been instructed not to say anything about the former officer.

Mayor McCallion said the charges have saddened her and that she never suspected anything was wrong whenever she met with the couple.

"I saw it on TV yesterday and recognized the house," McCallion told reporters Monday morning. "I'm absolutely baffled as to why this would happen," she said.

A colleague of the victim drove to the couple's home, in the Cawthra and Burnhamthorpe Roads area to place flowers outside the police tape as part of a growing memorial for the woman. She told reporters the accused is a "gentle man."

"He's a pussycat. I met him a couple of times and he's a teddy bear," she said. "That's how I would describe him."

The couple had been married for more than 30 years and had no children.

On Friday night, the couple had friends over for dinner and everything appeared to be fine. Lawrence Ryan was planning for an annual deer-hunting trip Sunday.

Const. J.P. Valade with Peel police would not discuss a motive for the crime and said an exact cause of death will be determined during an autopsy scheduled for Tuesday.

The death is Peel's 25th homicide of 2008.

With a report from CTV Toronto's Austin Delaney