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  • By Pacific island Times News Staff

Yap's acting AG shot dead


Authorities are investigating the death of Yap's acting attorney general Rachelle Bergeron, who was shot Monday night by a still unidentified gunman.

"The FSM National Government is able to confirm that Rachelle Bergergon, a U.S. citizen working for the FSM State of Yap as the state's acting Attorney General, is recently deceased as the result of an alleged homicide," reads a statement issued by the Office of FSM President.

Richard Clark, spokesperson for President David Panuelo, said the State of Yap, with the assistance of the FSM Department of Justice and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, "are coordinating efforts to complete a thorough investigation."

Details were still sketchy. Yap officials were not available as of this writing.

According to a Facebook post by Amos Heidi Collins, Bergeron "was shot and killed outside their home last night. Simon, his neighbor Kenya, and Amos rushed her to the hospital, but staff were unable to revive her. Everyone is in shock; it all happened so fast."

Bergeron was married to PMA pilot Simon Hammerling. They got married on Oct. 25, 2018. "They were getting ready to celebrate their one year wedding anniversary," Collins wrote. "Thank you to everyone who came to the hospital to grieve with Simon and support him last night. Please pray and send him your love; he is dealing with the unimaginable loss of his wife and best friend, and for Rachelle’s family too. "

Bergeron arrived in Yap on Aug. 11, 2015 and became the newest member of the Office of the Attorney General. Bergeron had practiced law for the past five years, with experience in litigation in Washington, D.C. and human trafficking outreach/human rights advocacy in New York City and India. She is also a member of the New York State Bar. A 2015 press release from OAG upon her arrival in Yap, Bergeron had "been engaged so far with reviewing contracts for offices such as the Department of Health Services, providing humanitarian assistance and doing legal research for the asylum seekers currently in Yap, as well as taking several criminal cases at the Yap State Court."

Rachelle Bergeron with husband Simon Hammering.

Photo courtesy of Facebook.

Based on her LinkedIn profile, Bergeron was connected with Sanctuary for Families between 2013 and 2014. Her tasks included creating and conducting a youth outreach program focused on identifying potential sex trafficking clients, including developing and presenting know your rights workshops and holding legal clinics. She also provided representation, advocacy and case management to victims of sex trafficking.

She also worked as legal consultant for International Justice Mission between 2011 and 2013.

Robert Riley, the U.S. ambassador to FSM, is scheduled to arrive in Yap tonight with some of his staff for a state-department sponsored performance by a musical group on Friday.

Bergeron's friends have set up a GoFundMe account to raise funds for funeral expenses.

This is a developing story.

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