Under FBI Investigation Pima County Sheriff Chief Gagnepain Takes Own Life

From left to right: Chief Christopher Radtke, then-Chief Deputy Chris Nanos, Chief Brad Gagnepain, Chief Byron Gwaltney, Chief Paul Wilson, and Chief Karl Woolridge at Mr. Gagnepain’s retirement in 2014

Condolences are pouring into the Pima County Sheriff’s Department in response to the sudden death of Bradley Gagnepain, Pima County Sheriff’s Department Chief of Staff. Gagnepain, the focus on an FBI investigation, took his own life Sunday night.

“There is no easy way to express the heartfelt sorrow we feel for the Gagnepain family and close friends during their time of loss. Nancy and I hope they will find comfort in the memories of the man they knew and loved and we will pray that God will provide them strength and peace through this difficult time,” stated Sergeant Terry Staten on Facebook.

Gagnepain was considered by many to be the mastermind behind many of the more questionable practices of the Sheriff’s Department. After being appointed to replace former Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, Chris Nanos named Gagnepain, who had retired, as “Chief of Staff,” a position that had never existed before. In that position, Gagnepain oversaw the inner workings that are now under investigation by the FBI.

Gagnepain first made headlines in 1992 when he was caught stealing campaign signs belonging to Dupnik’s primary opponents. He and his partner in crime at the time “admitted to the theft and it cost them each five-day suspensions without pay. A Justice Court judge later dismissed the misdemeanor charges against them,” according to the Tucson Citizen.

In an email to employees on Monday, Nanos wrote, “We lost one of the great leaders and visionaries in our department’s history. Brad Gagnepain was a behind the scenes leader, the man behind the curtain, who had his fingerprints on so many of the successful programs and events in our department. Although, as a true leader, he took credit for none.”

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19 Comments on "Under FBI Investigation Pima County Sheriff Chief Gagnepain Takes Own Life"

  1. Bill Holden | June 20, 2016 at 8:11 pm |

    Don’t put it all on a man who can no longer defend himself. He was not alone, as will soon be revealed …

  2. Much, much more to this story. This is just the beginning.

  3. Holden – he had the chance to defend himself and declined – that is the sad story – he also didn’t bring out the rest of the story – he took it with him which also leans to more implication against him.

  4. Brad Despain | June 21, 2016 at 7:02 am |

    Telling how no other media oulets are addressing the FBI issue. It goes much higher up.

  5. Bill Holden | June 21, 2016 at 7:13 am |

    Didn’t want to come out guns blazing on the first post.

  6. Red Ripper | June 21, 2016 at 10:47 am |

    Me thinks the house of cards is beginning to fall.

  7. Brad was a GREAT man, he will be missed. He deserves respect.

  8. I sympathize for this man’s family and friends in their grief; that’s a hard thing to bear. But I have to wonder: Just what terrified Bradley Gagnepain so very much that he’d kill himself? The prospect of doing jail time? Shame and regrets?

  9. Allen Wycoff | June 21, 2016 at 3:05 pm |

    Can’t wait to hear more of the story on this one. Does it link itself directly to Dupnik?

  10. Jeff Todd | June 21, 2016 at 6:38 pm |

    Brad made us laugh so hard! He was so generous and kind to our family. He would have done anything for our family. Brad was a gift to this world and will be missed so dearly. If I didn’t who Brad was, I would have never known because Brad was humble. Such a talented and gifted man. God bless Brad and his family.

  11. Brad was an amazing man and uncle. Our hearts are breaking. Please respect his family and loved ones.
    This is a time for remembering the great man he was
    Not the one last second of his life. He gave so much
    To his family friends and community. This is a true kiss.

  12. *loss a true loss

  13. Mike Taibbi | June 22, 2016 at 9:30 am |

    The Brad I knew was inquisitive and thoughtful, generous and loyal to his friends, and both knowledgable about and dedicated to the best goals of law enforcement. While I accept that it’s impossible to know anyone’s complete story, I mourn his loss, share the pain of that loss with his family and friends, and will miss his friendship.

  14. Anonymous | June 22, 2016 at 2:29 pm |

    Wow gea been dead 3 day.They havent even tossed dirt on him yet.But you hypocritical people couldnt wait to toss first dirt on his body before his family has ANY CHiANCE to mourn..
    Vultures will pick at anything..
    What if this was your grampa,daddy,husband or son…
    Thats the problem with this world today.They THRIVE on other peoples miss fortunes.

  15. William Shakespeare | June 22, 2016 at 6:10 pm |

    “the evil that men do lives after themthem, the good is interred with their bones,So let it be with Caesar”
    Brad was a great guy!

  16. Its a tragedy when anyone takes their own life. Chief Gagnepain is wildly known to be an alcoholic, yet the sheriff continued to allow him to have a weapon and never took any action to force him into treatment. Stories of him reeking of alcohol when showing up for work have persisted for years. I believe all the pressures just got to be too much for him, especially with the FBI investigations and all the other bad publicity and corruption charges that chief deputy Radtke caused. Rehiring Radtke two days after he retired has been, I believe and many others, the single worst thing for the Department in recent memory and now the after effects have begun to appear. Mr. Nanos shot himself in the foot for bringing Chris Radtke back. Lets us hope no one else’s life is ruined.

  17. Flyingscotsman | June 23, 2016 at 4:27 pm |

    Not speaking ill of the departed, and to be respectful is one thing. And the way I was raised it is usually the proper thing. It is another thing completely to post fabrications of who he was. Presenting him to practical “sainthood” is over the top. And they opened the door to that, by not telling the truth. If nothing else, please people, let’s be honest. He was probably capable on some level of being kind, and bringing good things to a select group of people. Words like “Great” “humble” um… no. On a whole however, at the end of the day, he was also man, who also had sides that were corrupt, morally bankrupt, and insidious.He had anger/vendetta issues, and was not merely satisfied with hurting people’s careers and lives, he wanted to destroy them. He was an addict, with no one advocating in his receiving help for his widely known substance abuse problem. He was not a “visionary” or “the man behind the curtain.” This spin is a direct desperate attempt by Mr. Radtke to salvage what little perceived legitimacy this regime had left. Mr. Gagnepain presumably had demons we will never know of, and for his family we should be truly sorry. He sentenced them to bear an unfathomable burden. In his anger he tried to spread those same demons to others and that is unconscionable. He did not bring honor in the way he chose to live, or die. The “Celebration of Life” invitation, a carefully veiled mandatory command to the staff directed to be in dress uniform, and to be given honors, (which is something by the way they don’t even do for many retired members in good standing), is the proverbial slap-in-the face to the people who are currently and have in the past served admirably. They need to clean house of the remaining dysfunction before something truly tragic happens. NO ONE is thriving off of anything, this is an awful situation. People LIVE this, not just comment on an article. Telling the truth and setting the record straight is never wrong.

  18. Bill Holden | June 23, 2016 at 7:21 pm |

    Flying Scotsman nailed it. I would love to lay out exactly what this regime is capable of, skullduggery at it’s worst. The current power structure has so little actual police skills or experience on the street it is laughable. There are two tribes right now, one side can actually go out and still function as an deputy and do side by side with deputies on the street. The other side spends all it’s waking hours triple guessing and figuring out ways to screw deputies over. The testing process for commander’s is a joke. The largest part of scoring is executive review. This is where horse trading is done and favorites are chosen, barely anything on merits. If a commander is liked by the troops, he/she is buried and screwed with until they leave. This mess right now is Dupnik’s legacy, nothing else.

  19. My heart grieves for Brad’s family who loved him so much.
    I have known this loving family for many years and my heart breaks for their loss…

Comments are closed.