BARRE — Counselors were on “standby” at Spaulding High School and the state Department of Public Safety was in mourning a day after a popular lacrosse coach allegedly shot and killed his estranged girlfriend at her Barre apartment and then turned the gun on himself. What happened on Long Street shortly after 7:40 a.m. Wednesday doesn’t appear to be much of a mystery to officials. While waiting for autopsy results Thursday morning, Police Chief Tim Bombardier predicted their contents wouldn’t change the conclusion quickly reached by investigators who responded to the scene barely 24 hours earlier. “This is a straightforward domestic violence homicide with the person responsible taking their own life after,” he said. Police confirmed late Wednesday afternoon that person was Luke LaCroix. LaCroix, 30, coached boys lacrosse and substitute taught at Spaulding, where his adoptive father, David, serves on the School Board. He was a three-sport standout before graduating in 2006. Well-known and generally well-liked in the greater Barre area, LaCroix is now dead and so is his former girlfriend, Courtney Gaboriault. Fred Longchamp isn’t, and police disclosed late Thursday afternoon that Longchamp was at Gaboriault’s apartment when LaCroix “barged in … brandishing a handgun.” They said a struggle ensued, Longchamp escaped and immediately called police. Police, who arrived at the scene while shots were still being fired, said they watched an already injured Gaboriault stumble out of her Long Street apartment. Bombardier said she had multiple gunshot wounds and died at the scene a short time later. Gaboriault, 29, worked for the past five years for the state Department of Public Safety. Initially assigned to the Vermont Crime Information Center, she worked most recently as administrative services coordinator with the Vermont Marijuana Registry. Like Bombardier, Gaboriault’s boss didn’t wait for the autopsy results. “… Yesterday, Courtney Gaboriault, a valued member of the Department of Public Safety family, was killed by a former boyfriend,” Public Safety Commissioner Thomas Anderson said in a prepared statement released Thursday morning. “This was another senseless act perpetrated by a man who sought to control and dominate another person. "Domestic violence touches us all — and yesterday it touched the men and women of the Department of Public Safety in a particularly direct and heart-wrenching manner,” he added. “The epidemic of domestic violence requires attention from every one of us, and victims need our full support and understanding.” Anderson informed department employees of Gaboriault’s death on Wednesday and grief counselors were on site Thursday for employees who needed to talk. Spaulding Principal Brenda Waterhouse said school counselors were on “standby” Thursday and will be again Friday following an initial flurry of calls from concerned parents after news of the apparent murder-suicide broke. Waterhouse said it hit close to home and read a statement prepared by the school district’s legal counsel. “The district and the school community is deeply saddened by the death of Luke LaCroix,” she said. “We sent his family our heartfelt condolences (and) we will cooperate with the authorities in any way we can assist.” Paul Malone, chairman of the Spaulding board, said LaCroix’s adoptive parents, David and Nancy LaCroix, were crushed by the news. “This is a tragic event without a doubt and it’s really taken a toll on them,” Malone said of the Barre Town couple, who adopted LaCroix as an infant and raised him as their own. They did the same for their two other children, Tynisha, who earned her master's degree in physical therapy and is now married and living in Florida, and Trevor, who was diagnosed with autism and requires round-the-clock care that Luke LaCroix helped provide. “It’s all very sad,” said Malone, who described Luke LaCroix as a popular coach. LaCroix met Gaboriault — a 2007 graduate of Lake Region High School in Barton — at what was then Lyndon State College. Both earned their bachelor’s degrees and LaCroix went on to earn his master's degree in sports management from Southern New Hampshire University. Though LaCroix and Gaboriault were together for several years, friends and family members said she ended their increasingly troubled relationship and he did not take it well. State and local officials used the tragedy to highlight the seriousness of domestic violence and call attention to the supports that are available. In their latest press release on the incident, Barre police echoed comments Anderson made in his prepared statement. “… Domestic violence is an act of aggression based on power and control over the victim not an act of love,” the release stated. “No one is immune from domestic violence and it occurs across all age, ethnic and socioeconomic lines.” Anyone who is experiencing domestic violence, or who may have a friend or family member in a domestic violence situation, can access central Vermont resources through Circle at 1-877-543-9498. The Vermont Network's Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-228-7395 is the statewide alternative. david.delcore@timesargus.com

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