By Matt Pearce
7:18 PM PST, December 18, 2013
The man who shot three people at a Reno medical clinic, killing a doctor and critically wounding two other people, including another doctor, was a Northern California resident who lived alone, the Plumas County sheriff told the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday.
Reno police and the Plumas County Sheriff's Office served a search warrant Wednesday morning on the gunman's home in Lake Almanor, about 120 miles from where the shooting took place, Sheriff Greg Hagwood said.
The shooter, armed with a 12-gauge shotgun, killed himself in the reception area of the Urology Nevada clinic after firing four shots in the patient examination area Tuesday, police said.
The clinic is on the third floor of a building on the Renown Regional Medical Center campus. The gunman's decision to go there has made investigators suspect that the attack was not random. But investigators have yet to determine his motive and have declined to release his name until they can notify the man's family.
“He does have family," Hagwood told The Times. "It wasn’t until we were able to conduct a search of his residence that we could accurately identify who his surviving family members are."
Hagwood said the assailant was a longtime resident of Plumas County who had "no contact with law enforcement, no notoriety at all" over the last 10 years.
"Our office has only had two contacts with this individual over a course of many years, and they were not contacts that I would describe as being of any significance," the sheriff said.
The man was mentioned in a disturbance call but was not arrested, and in the other instance was the victim of vandalism, Hagwood said.
Lake Almanor, located where the Cascades meet the Sierra Nevada, is a rural area known for camping and outdoor recreation, Hagwood said.
"It’s very rural. Lake Almanor, and the Lake Almanor basin, have fewer than 5,000 full-time residents," Hagwood told The Times. “Shopping amenities and the like are a bit sparse, and people regularly travel 100 to 200 miles round-trip for shopping and other activities."
Chico, Calif., is one place people go, Hagwood said, and Reno is the other. Both are about 120 miles from Lake Almanor. Sacramento is 170 miles to the south.
Also Wednesday, police released the identities of the three victims. Dr. Charles G. Gholdoian, 46, was slain. The injured doctor is Christine Lajeunesse, who was in critical condition but conscious. Both work at Urology Nevada.
The other wounded victim is Shawntae Spears, 20, whom Urology Nevada officials described as a patient's relative.
Lita Scott, whose father was a patient of Gholdoian's for five years, told the Reno Gazette-Journal that “he wasn’t your typical doctor. ... He was one of those few doctors who would look you in the eye when he talked to you. He was such a kind guy.”
Dr. Joseph Drew, another Urology Nevada physician, told the Gazette-Journal that Gholdoian was "a really good father” to his two children.
"He was very involved with his kids on a personal level," Drew told the newspaper. "He built models with them. He bought specialized spray equipment so they could spray-paint the models. He worked with his son on how to detail a car. He worked with his son on skiing.”
Lajeunesse attended college in Ottawa, Canada, and moved to the U.S. with her family in 1999, according to her bio on Urology Nevada's website.
"Her favorite activities involve all things outdoors, preferably while traveling," the bio says. "Running marathons, climbing mountains, skiing and horseback riding are particular passions. An interest in Tae Kwon Do has led to a brown belt with aspirations of black belt status."
Her injuries from a single shotgun blast were severe enough that she will face a long road to recovery, said Dr. Michael Morkin, the incoming chief of staff for Renown. Both the physicians are his friends, he said.
Spears, who also was shot once, was in critical condition as of Wednesday morning, according to police and health officials. A Renown Health spokeswoman did not return a message seeking an update on her condition.
A Facebook profile bearing Spears' name features several photos of an infant she identified as her son.
"At this time, we have no information why this tragedy took place," Urology Nevada said in a statement on its website. "We are cooperating with the authorities in every way to learn more. In the meantime, we are focusing on our staff and the patients who are under our care."
Urology Nevada said it was offering counseling to its physicians and other staff members and rescheduling visits and surgeries as needed.
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