U.S. lawyer killed on South Pacific island

An American lawyer was shot to death on the tiny island of Yap in October. Rachelle Bergeron, 33, was serving as the island’s acting attorney general and had made fighting human trafficking a priority.

Yap is part of the Federated States of Micronesia, and has a population of only 11,000. The island is in the South Pacific.

Bergeron, a graduate of the University of Florida Fredric G. Levin School of Law, was shot outside of her home as she returned from a jog. Her dog was shot and killed as well. It’s believed that her tough stance against human trafficking — which she had fought against in other jobs as well— may had been the motivating factor in her slaying.

Such gun violence is said to be very rare on the island.

“It’s the most dangerous job in Yap,” said Amos Collins, a family friend, in an interview with ABC, of her position as acting attorney general.

From the New York Post: “She cared passionately about ending sex trafficking,” said Dorchen Leidholdt, director of Sanctuary for Families, a New York non-profit that provides counseling and legal services for victims of sex trafficking where Bergeron once worked. “She was acutely aware of the violence involved in child sex trafficking. And she wasn’t afraid of confronting anyone.”

She had been married for about a year. Her husband was inside the house at the time of the shooting.

The University of Florida Dean Laura A. Rosenbury released this statement:

“The University of Florida Levin College of Law community is deeply saddened to hear of this senseless crime. Rachelle represented the very best of UF Law. In her short, but influential, career Rachelle used her legal education to touch the lives of people across the globe. We extend our heartfelt condolences to Rachelle’s family, friends, and loved ones.”