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(SNO) — Commissioner of Police Severin Moncherry has said he is confident in the abilities of the officers investigating last week’s shooting death of the wife of a senior police officer attached to the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force.
Kimberly De Leon, 42, a government employee and mother of two children, sustained multiple gunshot wounds at the residence she had shared with her ex-husband on Chef Harry Drive, The Morne in Castries. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Police responded to the incident around 10:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 29.
A police official mentioned her husband as a “person of interest” in the homicide based on a history of domestic dispute reports involving the couple, however Moncherry has made it clear that the husband is not a suspect and he was never arrested.
Members of the public have expressed concern on social media that the RSLPF is covering up for one of their own, but Moncherry told reporters on November 1 that he understands this perception, but assured the public that his officers are capable of handling the matter. The top cop also said he is not opposed to an independent investigation or outside assistance.
“That case in particular, because of public perception, we would ensure that we do everything within our power to ensure that there is some sort of closure to this matter,” Moncherry said. “I have been in dialogue fairly often with the investigators in this matter. We have briefed the DPP and we are getting advice from the director of public prosecution. I intend to seek technical advice and technical assistance from the regional system, so we’ll do everything in our power to ensure that we bring this matter to closure.”
He added: Whilst I think we can get outside technical assistance, I don’t think we need to get outside investigators, however because of the public perception that you spoke of, I would be happy to have independent investigators. However, the laws right now don’t make provisions for that, and I am quite comfortable and confident in the police officers I have within the organisation, to be able to investigate this matter and investigate it properly.”
Regarding the deceased’s husband, Moncherry said: “Like I said the person of interest was interviewed. The person, well I cannot say he was released because he was never arrested, he was assisting police in terms of statements being recorded. However as the matter unfolds… based on info that we get, we [are] trying to collect all the possible evidence, [all] the possible information right now, and as soon as we gotten to the stage where we have a main suspect, then we will deal with whoever the suspect is.”
The woman’s husband was first mentioned as a person of interest by Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police In Charge of Operations, Dorian O’Brian, at a press conference on Tuesday, Oct. 30.
O’Brian had said: “The officers got to the scene and realised there was one victim named Kimberly De Leon, aged 42, and that victim was pronounced dead on the scene by a medical practitioner. Resulting from this, the victim is the wife of a police officer attached to the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force. Due to past domestic incidents, prior, which were reported to the force, where we took action, it was of necessity that that police officer became a person of interest. As a result, the investigation is ongoing and it is in a very active stage, and I believe by later this evening or into tomorrow we will be able to give more information as to the result of the investigation and where the investigation leads us.”
Like his boss, O’Brian had assured the public that the investigation will be unbiased.
“I have full confidence in the persons carrying out the investigation. And let me assure you that the person carrying out the investigation is a senior officer, one of the most senior officers within the Major Crime Department, and I don’t believe there will be a need for an independent investigation, but as all investigations, the DPP give directives, and if the DPP calls for an independent investigation then so be it. But I have full confidence in those persons carrying out the investigations presently,” O’Brian said.
At the time of her death, De Leon was employed with the Ministry of Education as an accountant. She was previously employed with the Customs and Excise Department.