RENO — Two Nevada police officers are being hailed as heroes for saving the life of a doctor who was critically injured in a shooting rampage at a Reno medical building.
Officers Reed Thomas and Ryan Connelly received Reno Police Chief Lifesaving Awards during a ceremony Wednesday before the City Council.
Dr. Christine 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, 52. “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.
The gunman, 55-year-old Alan Frazier of California, killed another doctor and shot a third person before committing suicide.
Police arrived at the scene within 45 seconds of the first emergency call at 2:05 p.m. on Dec. 17.
“It was chaos,” said police dispatcher Becky Knapp, who was one of a handful of dispatchers honored Wednesday, 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 there botched a surgery, 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.”