Grass Valley woman kills herself at City Hall | SierraSun.com
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Grass Valley woman kills herself at City Hall

Liz Kellar
Sun News Service

GRASS VALLEY, Calif. and#8212; A 31-year-old Grass Valley woman who fatally shot herself Wednesday morning inside Grass Valley City Hall was and#8220;passionateand#8221; about her schooling and about loving her children, family members said.

The woman and#8212; identified by relatives as Josephine Melton and#8212; had been troubled by deep-seated emotional problems stemming from her childhood, according to Sean and Scott Coffey, brothers to Melton’s longtime partner, Lance McNew.

She may have felt overwhelmed by those problems resurfacing, Sean Coffey said.

Melton went into the women’s restroom in the lobby of City Hall and shot herself with a semi-automatic pistol, Grass Valley Police Capt. Rex Marks said.

She was not a city employee and did not talk to anyone when she walked into the building, Marks said. No one saw her, and no one heard the shot, he added.

Melton’s body was discovered by an employee heading to the restroom at about 11:45 a.m., Marks said.

The restroom is near the front doors. and#8220;There is a corridor between (the restroom) and the offices, so it is not that unusual that the gunshot wasn’t heard,and#8221; Marks said.

He was the first to respond to the scene. Marks found Melton locked inside a stall, dead from a single, self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Relatives did not know how she acquired the gun, they said.

Nevada County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Coroner Paul Schmidt responded to the scene. As a result of the incident, City Hall was closed to public business for the remainder of the day.

City Hall will re-open to the public today. Counseling services are being provided to city employees, Marks said.

Friends and loved ones knew Melton as and#8220;Josie.and#8221;

and#8220;She was a truly amazing person,and#8221; said Scott Coffey.

and#8220;When she joined our family (12 years ago), she absolutely exploded with love,and#8221; Scott Coffey recalled. and#8220;She was aching to share it. We are incredibly proud to be her family.and#8221;

An athletic woman with long brown hair and hazel eyes, Melton enjoyed jogging, going for walks and organizing activities for her children that were both fun and educational, the Coffey brothers said.

She was valedictorian of her class when she graduated from Sierra Mountain High School in Grass Valley. At Sierra College, she studied accounting, child development, nursing and other subjects, the brothers said.

Melton leaves behind McNew and three children who were the focus of her life, the brothers said.


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