A senior French police chief has committed suicide only hours after meeting with the families of the Charlie Hebdo victims.
Helric Fredou, 45, who was the deputy director of the regional police in Limoges, shot himself in the head with his police issue gun on Wednesday night, according to France 3.
M. Fredou had been asked to file a report on the Charlie Hebdo killings including investigating the family of one of the victims, but died before completing the report. It is reported that he interviewed families of those shot in the gun rampage by Cherif and Said Kouachi at the offices of the satirical magazine last week.
Two policemen were killed in the attack by the Islamic fundamentalists.
Commissioner Fredou, who was single and had no children, began his career in the French police force in 1997 and had been the deputy director in the region since 2012.
It is not currently known if his suicide had any link to the killings but colleagues told France 3, the French public television channel, that he was ‘depressed’ and overworked.
They also added that he had been deeply affected by the earlier suicide of the third in command of the Limoges judicial police in 2013 and it was M Fredou who discovered the body. According to the suicide note, his colleague had cited “personal reasons” for ending his own life. The colleague had also ended his life by shooting himself in the head.
Pascal Cayla of the Alliance union which represents members of the police, said “We are all stunned. He was someone who was very humane and close to people.”
France’s national police union expressed its ‘sincere condolences’ over Commissioner Fredou’s death and said their thoughts were with his colleagues.
A statement on Thursday morning read:
“It is with great sadness that we were informed this morning of the death of our colleague Helric Fredou, assigned as Deputy Director of the Regional Service Judicial Police in Limoges.
“On this particular day of national mourning, police commissioners are new both hit hard by the tragic death of one of their own.
“The Union of Commissioners of the National Police would like to present its most sincere condolences to the relatives of Helric.”