Society

Doctor Shot, Killed Helping Injured Neighbor

| by Karin Sun
Dr. Kenneth AtkinskonDr. Kenneth Atkinskon

A Colorado doctor was shot to death when he went to offer medical assistance to an injured neighbor.

Just after 1 p.m. April 4, police in Centennial, Colorado said they received a 911 call reporting multiple gunshots, KDVR reported. Neighbors said the incident began as a domestic dispute. When the suspect's wife ran for help, he shot her as well as a male and female neighbor who were coming to assist.  

The two women were wounded in the shooting; the man was pronounced dead at the scene.  

He has since been identified by neighbors as 65-year-old Kenneth Atkinson, a local family doctor who had been practicing for the past 30 years, according to another KDVR article.

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"Most of our patients, when they saw Dr. Atkinson, they never wanted to leave. He just clicked with them. He cared about his patients and that came across,” Mary DeLapp, the doctor's medical assistant of 15 years, told KDVR.

She added that she wasn't surprised that Atkinson had been killed while trying to help an injured person.

 “If Doc saw something, he was just going to help. That was Doc," she said. "He probably didn’t even think about himself."

Atkinson leaves behind a wife and two daughters. The doctor, who was about to retire from his practice, just welcomed a new grandchild two weeks before the shooting.

His funeral date has not yet been set, according to KDVR.

Shortly after they arrived on the scene, Arapahoe County Sheriff's deputies found the shooter, later identified as Kevin Lee Lyons, in a nearby backyard and took him into custody.

Lyons made his first court appearance April 5. He is currently being held without bond on charges of first-degree murder and attempted murder, according to the Denver Post.

“The city of Centennial is one of the safest cities in the United States and has been for numerous years the safest city in Colorado,” Arapahoe County Undersheriff Louie Perea said, according to KDVR.

"It's unfortunate that it happened.  But with our quick response with the sheriff’s office and the Greenwood Police Department, we were able to locate who we believe to be the sole shooter of this incident."

Nearly 400 people attended a candlelight vigil in Centennial April 5 to honor the fallen doctor's memory, the Denver Post reported.

The two women who were injured in the shooting remained hospitalized. Their conditions were not known at that time.

They have been identified as Lyons' wife, Elizabeth Lyons, and a neighbor, Laurie Juergens. 

Sources: KDVR (2), The Denver Post / Photo credit: KATA via The Denver Post

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