‘Domestic violence touches us all’: Colleagues mourn death of Vermont public safety worker killed in apparent murder-suicide

“This was another senseless act perpetrated by a man who sought to control and dominate another person.”

Courtney Gaboriault
Courtney Gaboriault. –Photo courtesy of Courtney Gaboriault's family via Vermont State Police

Courtney Gaboriault was committed to helping others.

For nearly five years, she worked in the Vermont Department of Public Safety’s Crime Information Center. More recently, the 29-year-old, who was known by her colleagues for her “good humor” and love of animals, was the administrative services coordinator for the state’s Marijuana Registry.

On Wednesday, authorities say Gaboriault was killed by a former boyfriend in Barre, Vermont, in what they’re describing as an apparent murder-suicide related to domestic violence.

Police said 30-year-old Luke Lacroix barged into Gaboriault’s Barre apartment around 7:45 a.m. that day and pointed a handgun at his former girlfriend and her friend, Fred Longchamp, the Burlington Free Press reports. After a struggle with Lacroix, Longchamp made it outside the apartment and called the police, according to the newspaper.

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Officers arrived at the scene to the sound of gunshots and Gaboriault stumbling out of the apartment, VTDigger reports. She was pulled to a safe location by officers, who found Lacroix dead from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot to his head, according to the newspaper.

Gaboriault was declared dead at the scene, the Free Press reports.

This was another senseless act perpetrated by a man who sought to control and dominate another person,” Thomas Anderson, Vermont’s commissioner of public safety, said in a statement on the 29-year-old’s death. “Domestic violence touches us all — and [Wednesday] it touched the men and women of the Department of Public Safety in a particularly direct and heart-wrenching manner.”

According to VTDigger, Barre police had no record of any restraining orders against Lacroix, who also lived in the town. The relationship between Gaboriault and the Barre man had ended about eight months ago.

The 29-year-old was born and raised in Vermont, a graduate of Barton’s Lake Region Union High School in 2007 and a 2011 graduate of Lyndon State College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in human services.

“She was always happy to help a co-worker with any issue,” Jeffrey Wallin, director of the Vermont Crime Information Center, said of Gaboriault. “She brought a sense of joy to her work and her co-workers every day. Her loss is keenly felt by her colleagues and all whose lives she touched. The thoughts of everyone who knew and worked with Courtney are with her family and friends.”

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Her parents, younger sister, and extended family live in the Northeast Kingdom and central Vermont, according to authorities. A memorial service for the 29-year-old is being planned in the Northeast Kingdom.

In mourning the loss of their colleague, the public safety department urged anyone experiencing — or aware of incidents of — domestic violence to reach out to advocacy agencies or law enforcement.

“The epidemic of domestic violence requires attention from every one of us, and victims need our full support and understanding,” Anderson said in a statement. “It is important to remember that domestic violence is about the offender’s need for power and control, not a potential consequence of falling in love. Perpetrators of domestic violence act with a sense of entitlement to exert control over their victims. Domestic violence is never justified and is the antithesis of love.”