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Wednesday, October 5, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesPolice Employee Was Under Observation When She Killed Herself

Police Employee Was Under Observation When She Killed Herself

An employee of the V.I. Police Department was supposed to be under observation by an officer when she committed suicide Sunday night, shooting herself to death with a weapon being held as evidence.
Shakira Gautier, a civilian employee of the department, died just before midnight Sunday of what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Final cause of death will be determined by the medical examiner.
According to a release from VIPD Public Information Officer Melody Rames, the death occurred at the Property and Evidence room at the Police Administration and Operations Building at Estate Hannah’s Rest. Gautier had worked three years in the Forensics unit.
On Thursday, Rames said the 28-year-old Gautier was undergoing counseling and had had her access to the property area restricted. The department’s new property and evidence area, which was subject of a media tour just days before Gautier’s death, has layers of security requiring biometric scans to gain access. Because Gautier’s access was restricted, she was required to be accompanied by an officer when in the unit.
Gautier was not scheduled to be on duty that night, but was on call when evidence needed to be brought in and processed, Rames explained. She was in the unit with an officer observing, but that officer "left her for not very long." As the officer was returning she heard a gunshot, Rames said.
Because she was a civilian employee of the department and not an officer, Gautier did not carry a sidearm. When asked where Gautier got the weapon she apparently killed herself with, Rames replied that it was in the evidence storage.
Expressing condolences to Gautier’s family, Police Commissioner Novelle Francis said, "In the police department many civilians work in sensitive areas where they are exposed, firsthand, to many tragedies. This, coupled with the stresses of everyday life, can take its toll on a person."
Francis urged all employees, both sworn and civilian, to seek counseling from the department’s Behavioral Services Director, clinical psychologist Dr. Denese Marshall, if they are feeling depressed or overwhelmed.
Marshall has been conducting group sessions for members of the department to deal with issues raised by Sunday’s incident, Rames said. She could not comment on whether any personnel had requested individual counseling.
No funeral or memorial services have been announced for Gautier.
Francis said Gautier "had extraordinary work ethic and integrity. She was always willing to assist with any case and go the extra mile for the officers she supported."

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