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Slain American Had Islands' 'Most Dangerous Job'

Rachelle Bergeron was acting attorney general in Micronesian state
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 16, 2019 6:01 PM CDT
Updated Oct 17, 2019 1:00 AM CDT
Rachelle Bergeron sits at her desk on Yap in 2015.   (Yap State Government via AP)

(Newser) – Rachelle Bergeron, an American serving as an acting attorney general in Micronesia, was shot to death outside her home Monday night. She had just returned from a jog and was opening the back of her car to let her dog out when three gunshots rang out, the AP reports. Her husband, who was baking brownies inside with a child the couple was caring for, ran out to find the dog dead in the car and his wife slumped on the ground. Bergeron, 33, had been shot in the upper leg and upper chest. "I just kind of fell by her," Simon Hammerling told ABC. He said he didn't see anyone fleeing. His wife was pronounced dead at a hospital. The couple married last year. "I loved her very much," Hammerling said. "I miss her already."

Bergeron had been prosecuting criminal cases in Yap, a state consisting of a group of small islands with a population of about 11,000, since 2015 and had been acting attorney general since January. Friends said that the job was wearing on the Wisconsin native and that she was planning to move home soon. Bergeron worked to help victims of abuse and trafficking, and had been threatened, associates said. "Yap's spirit is broken by this senseless and heinous act," said the governor, who promised justice. The FBI is sending a team of investigators. Gun violence is rare there; it's not legal for individuals to own guns in the Pacific nation. But a friend said Bergeron had the "most dangerous job" on Yap. (Read more Micronesia stories.)

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