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Questions linger about how slain deputy, 38, was killed

LAWRENCEVILLE - More than 200 law enforcement officials and family members packed the funeral Monday of Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department Lt. Don Bassett, while questions lingered as to how exactly he died.

Officers from across Gwinnett and DeKalb counties honored the 17-year veteran and member of the department's professional standards unit at Corinth Baptist Church in Loganville. Bassett was later buried at Hill Haven Memory Gardens in Monroe, Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Stacey Bourbonnais said.

"It's a huge void for those who worked closely with him and everyone who knew him here," she said of the father of four.

Meanwhile, investigators with the Gwinnett police homicide unit plan to meet today to discuss how to move forward with the case, said that department's spokesman, Cpl. David Schiralli.

Police believe the 38-year-old deputy was involved in a domestic dispute with his live-in fiancee, Morgan Schrader, 20, about 1:30 a.m. Thursday at their Dacula home. During the dispute, a handgun was produced and a struggle ensued, ending when the gun fired. Investigators have not said how the gun discharged.

Schrader was interviewed at length and released from police custody the same day. Bassett died shortly after the shooting at Gwinnett Medical Center.

A report released Monday by Gwinnett police notes that alcohol was involved in the incident, but does not clarify how. An officer writes in the report that Bassett was found on the floor with a wound to "the stomach area." A neighbor who ran to Bassett's aide when she heard the gun fire said last week the bullet struck his chest.

The neighbor said she couldn't tell if the shooting was accidental or not. The couple had just moved into the tidy, two-story home two months prior and appeared to be happy, neighbors said.

The handgun that killed Bassett was not his department-issued weapon.