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Med School Professor Dies After Brigham Shooting

UPDATED: January 21, 2015, at 3:19 a.m.

Michael J. Davidson
Harvard Medical School Assistant Professor Michael J. Davidson died Tuesday after he was shot at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

BOSTON—Assistant Harvard Medical School professor Michael J. Davidson, the victim of a shooting Tuesday morning at the Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, has died, according to Boston Police.

Davidson, identified as Tuesday’s shooting victim in a press release that evening, was shot at least twice on the second floor of the hospital’s Shapiro building. Boston Police have identified the suspected shooter as Stephen Pasceri, 55, of Millbury, Mass., who died Tuesday from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gun wound.

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Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon that authorities believe the suspect targeted the doctor—later identified as Davidson—but that they do not believe the suspect was Davidson’s patient.

“[The investigation] is leading us to believe that there’s something in the past that upset [the suspect],” Evans said shortly after 1 p.m., when Davidson was still in critical condition.

According to Evans, Boston Police received multiple phone calls shortly after 11 a.m. “about possible shots being fired” at the hospital. Police then received a call of a “doctor being shot and people barricading themselves inside offices here,” Evans said.

Boston Police officers soon arrived at the scene and proceeded to secure the second floor, the reported site of the gunshots, according to Evans. They found the suspect—later identified as Pasceri in a press release Tuesday evening—dead in an examination room from what Evans said appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound with a weapon next to him.

Conflict at the Scene
Members of the Boston Police Department and Brigham and Women's Hospital personnel cross Francis Street away from the Harvard-affiliated hospital's Shapiro building, where Harvard Medical School Assistant Professor Michael J. Davidson was shot on Tuesday morning.

According to Evans, the suspect entered the hospital on the second floor and asked for Davidson specifically. Evans said he believes the shooting occurred near the entrance to the examination room and lobby area.

“Clearly [Pasceri] came in, and the doctor came out to see him, and that’s [when] we believe the altercation took place,” Evans said.

Police secured the scene within 16 minutes, and there were no other injuries, according to a department press release. Evans praised the first responders, who he said “did everything they could to to neutralize not only the situation but also get the care to that doctor.”

Davidson was an assistant professor of surgery at the Medical School and was the director of endovascular cardiac surgery at the Brigham, according to his profile on the hospital’s website. Davidson completed both his residency in surgery and a fellowship in endovascular surgery and cardiac catheterization at the Brigham.

"The thoughts of the entire Harvard community go out today to the family and friends of Dr. Davidson, and to everyone at Brigham and Women's Hospital,” Provost Alan M. Garber ’76 wrote in an emailed statement Tuesday evening. “Dr. Davidson was known as an exceptionally skilled, thoughtful, and compassionate surgeon, whose tireless efforts reflected his deep dedication to his patients. It is for these qualities that he should be remembered.  May they continue to inspire us as we mourn his tragic loss."

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