State Pd. investigation into apparent murder suicide continue - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

State Police investigation into apparent murder suicide continues

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BATON ROUGE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - The State Police investigation into Tuesday's apparent murder suicide in Ville Platte, Louisiana, continued today.

Louisiana State Police troopers and SWAT operators responded to the shooting in Ville Platte that left two Louisiana Department of Insurance investigators dead.  

"I want to convey my deepest sympathy to the Jeansonne and Sledge families," said Colonel Mike Edmonson, State Police Superintendent. "My thoughts and prayers are also with the entire Louisiana Department of Insurance family. These investigators' sacrifice must not be forgotten. The Louisiana State Police will conduct a thorough investigation in an effort to provide as many answers as possible to the grieving families."

When officers arrived on scene , they found that two Department of Insurance Investigators, 44-year-old Kimberly Sledge, and 39-year-old Rhett Jeansonne both of Denham Springs, LA, had been shot.  The investigators were transported to local area hospitals and later died as a result of the gunshot wounds.  The suspected gunman, 67-year-old Melvin Lavergne of Ville Platte, LA, barricaded himself in the business.  Ville Platte Police established a perimeter and requested assistance from several local agencies.

The Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office, Opelousas Police Department, Louisiana Probation and Parole and Louisiana State Police responded to the scene.  As a safety precaution several local businesses were evacuated, and SWAT operators from state police and the Opelousas Police Department secured an inner perimeter.  Several city streets were closed as safety measures and various agencies assisted with scene security.  

State police SWAT operators and negotiators established a command post in the Evangeline Bank and Trust Company, and made several attempts to contact Lavergne.  After several hours of unsuccessful attempts to contact anyone inside, SWAT operators made entry into the business.  

When they entered the business operators discovered Lavergne dead inside of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.  He was pronounced dead at the scene by the Evangeline Parish Coroner.  The case remains under investigation at this time.

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