News and Information
- April 2003
This page will be
updated as additional information becomes available.
STATEMENT OF DISTRICT ATTORNEY DANIEL F. CONLEY
ON THE FINDINGS OF THE INVESTIGATION INTO THE APRIL 8, 2003 DOUBLE
FATAL SHOOTING AT MGH
BOSTON, June 26, 2003 - On the morning of Tuesday, April 8,
several employees were present in and around the cardiac arrhythmia
services/pulmonary catheter laboratory in the Gray-Bigelow Building
at Massachusetts General Hospital. Among the rooms in this lab are a
reception area, workstations, examination rooms, and the office of
Dr. Brian McGovern, a 47-year-old Boxford resident.
Colleen Mitchell, a 51-year-old Beacon Hill resident who worked
in the unit as a secretary/receptionist, is believed to have entered
Dr. McGovern's office sometime around 10 a.m.
At 10:08 a.m. several employees in the cardiac arrhythmia unit
heard several gunshots from inside Dr. McGovern's office. Within
seconds, three employees rushed to the closed door of Dr. McGovern's
office. They decided to open the door and upon doing so, saw Dr.
McGovern on the floor to their right. To their left, against the
wall, they saw Colleen Mitchell, 51, of Beacon Hill. Both had
suffered gunshot wounds. By Colleen Mitchell's hand was a handgun,
later determined to have been a .38 caliber revolver.
moments emergency personnel from MGH, EMS, Boston Police, and State
Police responded to the office. The victims were rushed to the
hospital's emergency room, where they were pronounced dead
approximately a half hour later.
The investigation determined that Colleen Mitchell fatally shot
Dr. McGovern and then fatally shot herself. An autopsy by the state
medical examiner determined that Dr. McGovern suffered four gunshot
wounds to his chest, head, neck, and right hand. Colleen Mitchell
suffered a single gunshot wound to her head.
further determined that Colleen Mitchell purchased the .38 caliber
5-shot Taurus revolver in December of 2000 at a pawnshop in Hampton,
Virginia. According to Virginia laws, a driver's license was
required to purchase the gun, and Mitchell purchased the gun
legally. However, she did not have a license to carry the gun in
Police executed a search warrant at Mitchell's apartment on
Champney Place. Recovered during that search were 40 rounds of .38
caliber ammunition. That ammunition was the same brand and caliber
as the bullets fired from the revolver. Also found were a gun
cleaning kit, personal papers, one prescription bottle bearing her
name for Wellbutrin, and another prescription bottle bearing her
name for Zoloft.
Shortly after the shootings, some media outlets
reported an unsourced rumor that Dr. McGovern may have caught
Mitchell stealing drugs from the hospital and confronted her. Based
on the evidence and information we have collected, there is nothing
to support that theory.
There was also considerable speculation that Dr. McGovern and
Colleen Mitchell may have had a personal relationship. I can tell
you that the investigation by this office and Boston police
collected a great deal of professional and personal information
about Dr. McGovern and Colleen Mitchell, and there is absolutely
nothing that suggests that there was a personal relationship between
We do not conclusively know the motive for the shootings, and we
never may. Those of us who investigate homicides, and those of you
who cover them, know that you often cannot attribute a sensible
motive to such a senseless act of violence. But I can tell you that
based on everything we know, Dr. McGovern was a highly-respected
physician, a good husband, and a caring father.
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