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Autopsy shows

March 11, 2001

doctor died of


gunshot wound


OCOTILLO — An autopsy Saturday has led investigators to think Dr. John F. Hansbrough, 55, director of the University of California San Diego Regional Burn Center, died in this area Wednesday from a single self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest.

Imperial County Chief Deputy Coroner Rick Macken said the autopsy revealed Hansbrough died of a shot from a 357-caliber revolver to the chest. He was found by a sheriff's deputy on routine patrol.


Hansbrough was parked alongside Imperial Highway about one mile north of Interstate 8 on Wednesday.

Macken said investigators aren't sure why Hansbrough might have chosen to commit suicide but said, "It appears that he may have been concerned about some family issues, but those issues aren't available to us."

The handgun used was found next to Hansbrough in the vehicle.

Macken said investigators aren't sure how long after the shooting Hansbrough was in the vehicle before the deputy found him, but Macken said it was not long.

Macken said Hansbrough was not thought to be dead when he was found, but he was not responsive. Medical crews attempted to revive Hansbrough, but he was pronounced dead at the scene at about 12:30 p.m.

Hansbrough was an internationally respected expert on burn care and a pioneer in the development of substitute skin for burn patients.

Staff Writer Mario Rentería can be reached at 370-8549.

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