Koror, Palau – The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the FSM Department of Justice are conducting an investigation into the Monday fatal shooting of Acting Attorney General at the normally peaceful island of Yap, Federated States of Micronesia.
The motive of the shooting that led to the death of US citizen Rachelle Bergeron is still unclear as there has been no suspect in custody yet. Reports said the FBI has arrived on Yap on Wednesday to begin the investigation.
Yap Governor Henry Falan on Tuesday said that Bergeron’s death “marks a tragic day in our history.”
“The state of Yap, with the assistance of the FSM Department of Justice and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, is coordinating efforts to complete a thorough investigation,” the government said in a brief statement on Tuesday.
In a statement, Falan said Bergeron was killed by gunfire early Monday evening at about 7:00 pm outside her home after returning from her daily jog.
Yap Memorial State Hospital medical chief of staff Dr. Bodunrin Mandela said, Ms. Bergeron was rushed to the hospital, but due to fatal wounds, 21 bullet holes in total, she was dead on arrival.
The medical chief said Ms. Bergeron was shot dead. Although no official details have been issued, one resident of Yap said that the U.S. citizen was shot at close range with a shotgun.
Bergeron arrived there in Yap 2015 and worked in the human rights office until she was promoted to acting AG early this year.
Yap and its neighboring island of Palau expressed shock on the incident.
“Yap’s spirit is broken by this senseless and heinous act. As Governor of the State of Yap, I promise to do everything within my power to have justice prevail and restore civility back into our society, “ Falan said.
Palau President Tommy Remengesau Jr. said that Yap is well known as a peaceful place and sends condolences to Bergeron and the FSM state.
Falan said Bergeron’s husband, Simon Haemmerling was at home at the time of the shooting.
“On behalf of all the citizens of Yap, both here and abroad, I offer our united, heartfelt condolences to her husband and her family, friends, and colleagues. Her loss will be greatly felt by all who knew her,” he said.
A GoFundMe was set up by Bergeron friends has raised more than $26,000 to “cover funeral costs and travel costs to the United States where Rachelle will be laid to rest.” (Bernadette H. Carreon)