Doctor shot in Reno rampage says officers saved her life
A doctor critically injured during a Dec. 17, 2013, shooting rampage in Reno said last week that two Nevada police officers saved her life.
Dr. Christine Lajeunesse, 52, who had signed a contract to begin working in Plumas County, was one of three people shot by Alan Oliver Frazier at a Reno medical clinic.
The 51-year-old Frazier, of Hamilton Branch, committed suicide after the shootings.
According to the Associated Press, officers Reed Thomas and Ryan Connelly received Reno Police Chief Lifesaving Awards during a ceremony Wednesday, April 30, before the Reno City Council.
Lajeunesse was on hand to personally thank them for saving her after she was shot in the arm and chest in the December attack. The shootings happened at the Urology Nevada office on the campus of the Renown Regional Medical Center.
“There are not many people who can say, ‘Thank you for saving my life,’” said Lajeunesse. “That really is what these people did. All of them, but in particular, Officer Reed Thomas and Officer Ryan Connelly.”
More than a dozen other officers, sergeants and dispatchers also were awarded the chief’s certificate of commendation.
Frazier killed another doctor and shot a third person before fatally shooting himself.
Police arrived at the scene within 45 seconds of the first emergency call Dec. 17.
“It was chaos,” said police dispatcher Becky Knapp, who was one of a handful of dispatchers honored, according to the Reno Gazette-Journal.
An office manager at Urology Nevada made the call to Knapp, who doesn’t remember the caller’s name. They’ve never met, but for about 20 minutes, they experienced together what few strangers can on a telephone call.
“At one point he (the shooter) started banging on her office door,” Knapp said. “So I told her to stay quiet and stay calm and not to come out from under her desk. She was legitimately terrified.”
Frazier, who claimed doctors had botched a surgery performed on him, entered the Center for Advanced Medicine B building wearing a puffy black coat hiding a pistol-grip, 12-gauge shotgun at his side.
He shot and killed Dr. Garo Gholdoian, 46, and fired at Lajeunesse and a patient.
Thomas and Connelly found Lajeunesse on the ground immediately past the doors in the waiting area near doctor offices.
“Her will to survive was amazing,” Connelly said. “She was talking. She just refused to give up. She did an amazing job.”
Dr. Lajeunesse had recently signed a contract with Eastern Plumas Health Care and was scheduled to being working for the hospital Jan. 1.
In the days following the shooting, hospital CEO Tom Hayes told Feather Publishing that Lajeunesse was going to work a few days each month at the Indian Valley clinic.
He said EPHC was hoping to receive her services at its Graeagle and Portola clinics as well.