No one will ever know what went through the turbulent mind of accountant Stephen Pasceri Tuesday morning as he left his Millbury home and drove an hour east to Brigham and Women’s hospital to shoot dead a renowned and beloved cardiologist, but it’s safe to assume that a misplaced thirst for vengeance fueled his attack.
Pasceri, 55, walked into the Boston hospital around 11 a.m. and asked for Dr. Michael Davidson, 44, by name. Pasceri found Davidson in an exam room on the second floor, and shot him twice before turning the gun on himself.
The married father of four and army veteran apparently blamed Davidson for the death of his beloved mother, a patient of Davidson’s who died in November after being treated for a heart condition.
After the shooting, Davidson, a Wellesley resident, clung to life as doctors operated on him. He succumbed to his wounds late Tuesday night, according to hospital officials.
Pasceri’s apparent vendetta against the medical profession began in 2011, when his elderly - and uninsured - father died of a heart attack after emergency treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital. Pasceri became furious in 2012 to learn that his mother had inherited an $8,000 medical bill, according to an account in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
Pasceri wrote heated letters to Sen. John Kerry and U.S. Rep. James McGovern demanding an investigation.
Pasceri, who had a license to carry a firearm, went off the deep end after his mother died, his sister told The Boston Herald.
"Everything seemed to be going really well. I have no idea why he snapped like this," said Marguerite Joly. “'I think it comes down to the fact that my brother thought it was the doctor's fault that my mother died… I don't know why my brother would blame him. I really don't know why.”
Before that fateful morning, Dr. Michael Davidson’s life was filled with family, friendship and a seemingly boundless compassion for his patients.
“He was usually one of the smartest men in the room,” Dr. Andrew Eisenhauer, a mentor and friend of Davidson’s, told reporters Wednesday. “I’ve seen him go absolutely to the mat for his patients. He treated them as people.”
Eisenhauer choked back tears remembering his colleague and friend, who is survived by his physician wife Terri Halperin, who is seven months pregnant, as well as two daughters, Kate, 9, and Lynn, 7, and a son Graham, 2.
“You could see when you went to their house how much love was there,” Eisenhauer said.
In addition to his role as a loving father, Davidson had the kind of creative ambition that allowed him to build his own fly fishing rods, and play lead guitar in a classic-rock garage band called “Off Label,” with fellow Brigham & Women’s physicians Pinak Shah and Daniel Wiener.
During their last practice, Davidson nailed Tom Petty’s “American Girl,” Wiener said.
“He did have a silly side,” said Shah. “We are a bunch of 40-somethings trying to relive our 20s and maybe not doing it so well.”
A heart doctor with a big heart
“He always asked himself, ‘What is best for the people we serve?’ That was his bottom line.” – Dr. Andrew Eisenhauer
“Mike was a magician, because I don’t know how he did all that he did in the time allotted. It makes me feel frankly inadequate. He was so generous with sharing his time, both professionally and personally.” – Dr. Charles Morris
“He had this sparkle in his eye, and this smile. Every time you were talking to him you felt like you were getting all of his attention. He had a magnetic personality.” – Dr. Daniel Wiener
For his children
The Dr. Michael J. Davidson Family Fund has been established at http://www.rtn.org/davidsonfundRTN Federal Credit Union. Contributions can be made at www.rtn.org/davidsonfund or mailed to the Dr. Michael J. Davidson Family Fund, RTN Federal Credit Union, 600 Main Street, Waltham, MA 02452, or stop by an RTN branch.