Metro

‘Something snapped,’ brother of alleged Brigham shooter says

Reportedly complained about medical bills

The brother of the man implicated in the fatal shooting of a doctor inside Brigham and Women’s Hospital on Tuesday said he believes Stephen D. Pasceri was upset over information he received recently about the November death of their mother.

Gregory Pasceri said his mother, Marguerite E. Pasceri, died at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester on Nov. 15 after being hospitalized there for a short time. The hospitalization came after the 78-year-old underwent a heart procedure at the Brigham, he said.

Investigators said Stephen Pasceri, who lived in Millbury, went to the Boston hospital Tuesday morning, asked for Dr. Michael J. Davidson by name, and then shot the doctor twice before shooting himself to death. Despite the efforts of colleagues who rushed to his aid, the 44-year-old Davidson, a cardiovascular surgeon, succumbed to his wounds Tuesday night, officials said.

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Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s office and Boston police are searching for the motive for Pasceri’s actions.

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Pasceri’s brother said he did not know the name of the doctor who operated on his mother at the Brigham. He said Stephen Pasceri was upset by their mother’s death, and the brother said in an interview Wednesday he believes “something snapped” after Stephen Pasceri learned new details about the reason for their mother’s death.

“It really destroyed my brother,” Gregory Pasceri said. “I had no idea he was going to take it to that extreme.”

Telegram & Gazette
A preliminary investigation suggested Dr. Michael Davidson’s assailant, Stephen Pasceri (above), “had some issue” with prior medical treatment of his mother.

Marguerite Pasceri was treated at the Brigham after she started having trouble breathing in late August or early September, Gregory Pasceri said. He said he was told the surgery went well, but his mother fell ill while en route from the Brigham to a rehabilitation facility in the Worcester area.

At that point, she was taken to St. Vincent, Gregory Pasceri said. There, Marguerite Pasceri steadily declined and was eventually put on a breathing tube, her son said. Her lungs were filling with blood and she died within five minutes of being taken off a ventilator, he said.

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During her most recent illness, Marguerite Pasceri was taking a medication for her lungs that had the potential to cause pulmonary bleeding as a side effect, Gregory Pasceri said. He said he believes his brother, Stephen, suspected the medication played a role in their mother’s demise.

Gregory Pasceri said his mother suffered from several health problems. She was diagnosed with emphysema in the 1980s and also had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, he said.

In 2003, she was operated on in Worcester where a 90 percent blockage was detected in one of her arteries, Gregory Pasceri said. After the procedure, Marguerite Pasceri swore off smoking and enjoyed generally stable health until she started having breathing problems during the late summer, he said.

Stephen Pasceri, according to court records, served as the executor of his mother’s will. He also wrote his mother’s obituary, his sister, Marguerite Joly, told the Boston Herald, “I think it comes down to the fact that my brother thought it was the doctor’s fault that my mother died,” she said. But she also said she did not recall her brother complaining about Davidson’s care of their mother.

According to US Bankruptcy Court records, Pasceri and his wife, Teresa, filed for bankruptcy in 2001, a process that had resolved itself by 2005.

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Gregory Pasceri, Pasceri’s father, died in 2011, according to court records. Stephen Pasceri told the Telegram & Gazette of Worcester in 2011 that he was frustrated by an $8,100 bill his mother received after Gregory Pasceri had died of a heart attack. He told the newspaper that he had enlisted the help of then-US Senator John F. Kerry and US Representative James P. McGovern, asserting that his family was being overcharged.

Marguerite Pasceri told the newspaper that she was making regular payments to UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester in connection with her husband’s medical bills.

In an emotional news conference at the Brigham Tuesday afternoon, four of his colleagues remembered him as a surgeon with exceptional skill with his hands and a brilliant mind who also genuinely cared about people and was a devoted father. He enjoyed fishing and playing guitar in a rock band called Off Label, his fellow doctors said.

A hospital spokeswoman said Davidson had three children, 9, 7, and 2 ½ years old, and his wife, plastic surgeon Terri Halperin, was seven months pregnant with a fourth child.

About 10 a.m. Wednesday, roughly 150 of Davidson’s colleagues gathered outside the main entrance to the hospital where the blue flag of the Brigham was lowered to half-staff while two members of the hospital security staff stood at attention. Dr. Elizabeth Nabel, the hospital’s president, led the memorial service.

Many of the mourners wore hospital scrubs, the clothes of their — and Davidson’s — profession and were handed multicolored roses that they laid at the base of the flagpole. As the brief service ended, some wept openly, many exchanged hugs of comfort — and then all walked back into the hospital.

Davidson, 44, of Wellesley had been a cardiovascular surgeon at the Brigham since 2006, and an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine in 1996 and did postgraduate training at Duke University Medical Center and the Brigham.

Funeral services were scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday at Temple Beth Elohim, 10 Bethel Road, Wellesley. Interment will follow at The Beit Olam East Cemetery in Wayland.

01/20/2015 - Millbury, MA - This is the home of Millbury resident Stephen Pasceri, cq, whom officials identified as the man that shot Brigham and WomenÕs Hospital cardiovascular surgeon Michael J. Davidson and then went on to kill himself. - Story by Sean Murphy. Photo by Dina Rudick/Globe Staff.
Dina Rudick/Globe Staff
Pasceri’s house in Millbury.

Related coverage:

Surgeon slain, gunman found dead in day of crisis at Brigham

Photos from the scene

David L. Ryan, John R. Ellement and Martin Finucane of the Globe staff contributed to this report. John R. Ellement can be reached at ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.