Gunned down by secretary who then shot herself

A SUGGESTION that the secretary who shot dead a leading Irish cardiologist at a Boston hospital was infatuated with him was yesterday described as “dangerous speculation” by police.

Dr Brian McGovern, 47, was in his office at Massachusetts General Hospital when he was gunned down on Tuesday by Colleen Mitchell, 51, who then shot herself.

According to hospital sources, the woman, who was single, had become infatuated with Dr McGovern, a married man with two children, but he had not returned her feelings.

However, according to Boston police spokeswoman Mariellen Burns, investigators are keeping an open mind as to the motive for the murder. Any suggestion that the killer was mentally ill or had become obsessed with Dr McGovern was “purely speculative” and could lead to the wrong conclusion.

She added that officers had recovered the hand gun used in the killing. The police investigation was continuing but Ms Burns could not say how long it would take. “It could be over this afternoon or it could take three months”, she said. “We are still doing interviews with co-workers and those who knew Dr McGovern.”

The Dublin-born surgeon was yesterday described as “brilliant, well respected and well liked” by his hospital colleagues.

Dr Peter L. Slavin, president of the hospital, said he was a “very well-regarded physician” at the hospital.

“I have always found him to be an incredibly talented, dedicated physician as well as a wonderful colleague,” he said.

Mitchell, an Irish-American, shot Dr McGovern at least once before putting the handgun in her mouth and pulling the trigger.

The murder occurred at 10.09am shortly after Dr McGovern arrived at work after dropping his daughter Caitriona off at Phillips Academy in nearby Andover.

The gunfire erupted in a small office in the hospital’s busy Arrhythmia Center and Electrophysiology Laboratory, where both worked. Dr McGovern was popular among patients and colleagues and had worked at the hospital for more than 20 years.

The killer’s family was horrified when they learned of the shooting. “We’re in shock and devastated, just devastated,’ said Mitchell’s sister.

Dr McGovern, a co-director of the hospital’s Electrophysiology and Arrhythmia Service, specialised in treating patients with irregular heart beats.

He graduated from UCD in 1979 and completed a year’s post graduate work in the Mater Hospital, Dublin, before moving to Boston in 1981 for postgraduate training. His wife, Anne Jennings, is a doctor at the nearby Beverley Hospital.

A neighbour of the McGoverns said she was shocked by the shootings. Susan Sooaar described the couple as “very happy” and said they and their two daughters, Caitriona, 16, and Deirdre, seven, recently returned from a trip to the Galapagos Islands.

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