News and Information - April 2003
This page will be updated as additional information becomes available.


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.
Within 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.
The investigation 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 Massachusetts.

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 the two.

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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