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Nevada healthcare practice mourns fatal shooting of physician

Thursday December 19, 2013
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A healthcare facility in Reno, Nev., was the scene of chaos and terror Tuesday, Dec. 17, when a gunman killed a medical doctor and critically wounded another doctor and a patient before killing himself.

The shooter entered a Renown Regional Medical Center campus building during the afternoon. According to a report in the Reno Gazette-Journal (www.rgj.com/viewart/20131218/NEWS/312180034), city police said the shooter made his way to the third floor of the building. He entered the Urology Nevada offices and fired five shots with a 12-gauge shotgun.

Charles “Garo” Gholdoian, MD, 46, was shot and killed. Christine Lajeunesse, MD, was in critical condition. A female patient's condition had been upgraded from critical to serious as of the morning of Thursday, Dec. 19.

A day after the shooting, police said the shooter did not appear to be targeting his victims, and they did not know whether he was a patient at the clinic. “But the fact that the shooter went through the first and second floor and made his way to the third floor of the building would indicate to me that it is not a random event,” Reno Police Deputy Chief Mac Venzon said at a news conference, according to the Gazette-Journal report.

The medical campus building in which the shooting took place was the Center for Advanced Medicine B. Along with the urology clinic, services in the building include wound care, heart and vascular health and dialysis. More than 100 people were in the building at the time of the shooting, police said.

While most practices in the building were open the day after the shooting, Urology Nevada remained closed.

“At this time we have no information as to why these terrible events occurred and we are cooperating with the authorities in every way possible to learn more,” the practice stated. “In the meantime, we are focusing on our staff and the patients who are under our care.

“We are providing emergency support to those affected by this event. Counseling will be offered to all our staff and physicians to help these fine people cope with this sudden and unexpected event.”

Renown Regional Medical Center “is the region’s only Level II trauma center, and provides a wide variety of specialties including cancer, heart, neurosciences, orthopedics, surgery, intensive care and women’s and children’s services,” according to the center’s website. “Renown Regional is home to the area’s only children’s hospital. … Renown Regional also offers access to the largest number of clinical research trials in the region.”

The entire campus was placed in lockdown mode as a precaution in the aftermath of the shooting, although police facilitated keeping the ED open.

Reno Police Chief Steve Pitts said there was “no knowledge of threats” from the shooter, according to the Gazette-Journal, but added: “There are some indicators that if someone was paying attention, maybe early intervention” could have made a difference in the shooting.


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