Rachelle Bergeron was serving as an acting attorney general in Micronesia

By Helen Murphy
October 16, 2019 11:39 AM
Credit: AP/Shutterstock

American lawyer Rachelle Bergeron, who was serving as an acting attorney general in Micronesia, was killed in the Pacific nation on Monday evening.

Bergeron was shot after returning home from work, according to a video statement from Henry Falan, the governor of the Micronesian island of Yap, where she was working.

“Today I come to you as a very sad man,” Falan said in the statement. “And not the proud governor that I thought I could be or would be. Today marks a tragic day in our history. We are under the watchful eyes of the world. It is with great sadness that I report the death of Yap’s acting attorney general, Rachelle Bergeron.”

Falan explained that Bergeron was killed at her home around 7:00 p.m. on Monday. Her husband was inside their home at the time, and Bergeron was “immediately” taken to the Yap Memorial Hospital, where she died.

“On behalf of all the citizens of Yap, both here and abroad, I offer our united heartfelt condolences to her husband, her family and friends and colleagues,” Falan said. “Her loss will be greatly felt by all who knew her.”

The governor added that the crime is currently under investigation.

“Yap’s spirit is broken by this senseless and heinous act,” he said. “As governor of the State of Yap, I promise to do everything in my power to have justice prevail and restore civility into our society.”

In a statement to PEOPLE, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State said: “We can confirm the death of a U.S. citizen in Yap on October 14, 2019. We offer our sincerest condolences to the family on their loss, and are providing all appropriate assistance to the family. Out of respect to the family during this difficult time, we have no further comment.”

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According to ABC News, Bergeron first moved to Micronesia in 2015 to work as the assistant attorney general of Yap State. She originally hailed from Wisconsin, and had previously practiced law in Washington, D.C., New York City and India.

Julie Hartup, a friend of Bergeron’s, told the Associated Press that she and her husband were about to celebrate their one-year wedding anniversary and wanted to start a family.

“She had a fun laugh; she loved her dogs; she loved going running; she really cared about the community,” Hartup said. “She was trying her hardest to do the best job she could, and ultimately somebody took her life for being so good at her job.”