Police chief, 40, dies
from gunshot wound
[Broussard, LA]

Kevin Blanchard
January 14, 2001, Sunday Metro Edition
Copyright 2001 Capital City Press
Sunday Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA.)
January 14, 2001, Sunday Metro Edition

(BROUSSARD, La.) -- Police Chief Irvin Flugence apparently shot himself in a Broussard graveyard early Saturday morning. He died later at a hospital.

The Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office responded to a call of the shooting about 4 a.m., spokeswoman Donna Delahoussaye said.

Investigators did not say whether they think the shooting was an accident or suicide. Delahoussaye said they will continue to look at the evidence, but there were "no signs of foul play."

Flugence had just celebrated his 40th birthday at a large surprise party in Broussard on Friday night.

City Alderman Harold Johnson was at the party. He said he still had a hard time believing the news of Flugence's death.

"We're all gonna miss him," Johnson said from his home Saturday night.

The last year of Flugence's term as chief was clouded by controversy. In April, State Police investigators confirmed they were investigating Broussard and his department on allegations of public bribery and malfeasance. That investigation had been sent on to the 15th Judicial District Attorney Mike Harson, who passed it along to the state Attorney General's Office, who in turn forwarded it to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Flugence was never charged.

Johnson - who has known Flugence since childhood - said Flugence had a bright future. He was an up-and-coming politician in the area, well-liked and well-thought of, Johnson said.

Flugence spent a lot of time walking the halls of schools and talking with the children, Johnson said.

"He was so active in the community," Johnson said. "Very promising."


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