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HMS Prof Dies in Hospital Shooting

By Hana R. Alberts, Crimson Staff Writer

A Harvard Medical School professor and his female co-worker were fatally shot at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) yesterday morning, but police said they remain uncertain about the details surrounding the incident.

Boston Police Department (BPD) officers were dispatched to the hospital at 10:09 a.m. after they received a report that shots had been fired in a small office, said BPD spokesperson Nadine A. Taylor-Miller.

Police said they discovered Assistant Professor of Medicine Brian A. McGovern and Colleen Mitchell wounded in the office. They reported later that the two were alone in the office at the time of the shootings.

“The victims were taken to the emergency room at MGH and pronounced dead there,” Taylor-Miller said.

Hospital spokesperson Nicole Gustin said yesterday that BPD had not confirmed a motive for the shootings, but added that “it appears that no one else was involved.”

Gustin’s statement would seem to indicate that the incident was a murder-suicide, but Taylor-Miller said BPD could not confirm that chain of events.

“It’s all an open and active investigation,” she said.

According to BPD, officers found a handgun—from which several shots had been fired—in the office where the shootings took place.

Gustin said the shootings occurred in a small office in MGH’s Cardiac Arrhythmia Center and Electrophysiology Laboratory, which McGovern co-directed.

Mitchell, 51, of Boston worked with McGovern in the lab, Gustin said. It was not clear how closely the two worked together.

McGovern, a 47-year-old cardiologist from Ireland who specialized in cardiac arrhythmia, taught about heart disease at Harvard for 20 years, according to a Harvard Medical School press release.

An expert in irregular heart rhythms, more than 100 of his articles have been published in medical journals.

Colleagues and friends said McGovern was a “well-respected” and “caring” physician.

He is survived by his wife and two young daughters.

McGovern had not made a payment on any malpractice claim in the past 10 years, the Associated Press reported, and did not have a criminal record or a record of hospital discipline during that time.

BPD said they are awaiting autopsy results and are interviewing the victims’ co-workers and friends to ascertain more details.

—Material from the Associated Press was used in the reporting of this story.

—Staff writer Hana R. Alberts can be reached at

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