A man holds a picture of Chantel Moore during a healing gathering at the B.C. Legislature in Victoria on June 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

A man holds a picture of Chantel Moore during a healing gathering at the B.C. Legislature in Victoria on June 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

‘Potentially lethal force’ means no charges in B.C. woman’s fatal shooting by police

Decision released in last year’s New Brunswick death of Vancouver Island’s Chantel Moore

New Brunswick’s Public Prosecutions Services announced Monday that no criminal charges will be filed against the police officer who fatally shot Chantel Moore a year ago.

Moore, a 26-year-old Indigenous woman, was shot by a member of the Edmundston Police Force during a wellness check in the early hours of June 4, 2020. Investigators said at the time that the shooting occurred after the young woman approached the officer holding a knife.

Quebec’s independent police watchdog, known as the Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes, investigated the case because New Brunswick does not have its own police oversight agency. The watchdog submitted its findings to the New Brunswick prosecutors’ office in December, but additional investigative work had to be done, and prosecutors only had the complete file as of early April.

The prosecutions office said in a statement the evidence showed the officer was responding to a potentially lethal threat and his actions were reasonable under the circumstances. Prosecutors concluded there was no reasonable prospect of conviction.

“The circumstances surrounding the death of Ms. Moore are tragic,” the statement said. “Chantel was a beloved daughter, mother, sister and friend. She was a member of Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation in British Columbia who had recently moved to New Brunswick to be closer to her family. We offer our deepest sympathies to her loved ones and to the communities touched by this loss.”

In writing his review of the Quebec watchdog’s report, Patrick Wilbur, regional director of the Public Prosecution Services, said a former boyfriend of Moore called police at 2:06 a.m. to request the wellness check as a result of his concerns over a series of Facebook Messenger messages he had received over a period of a few hours.

The former boyfriend, who lives in Quebec, told investigators at that at one point it appeared as if the messages were being written by third party, and he contacted police out of concern for Moore’s safety.

Police arrived at Moore’s apartment on Hill Street in downtown Edmundston at 2:32 a.m. The apartment was on the third floor and could be accessed by a wooden staircase. When questioned, the officer, who is not identified, said he knocked on a window and shone a flashlight on himself to show he was in full police uniform.

“As he moved to the entrance door he was surprised to observe that Ms. Moore retrieved something from her kitchen counter. At this point he saw that the object was metallic and that as Ms. Moore approached the door she appeared angry with a furrowed brow,” Wilbur’s review says.

The officer said he backed away from the door and removed his gun from its holster. He recounted that Moore opened the door and came out of the apartment, moving in his direction with a knife in her left hand. The officer said he pointed his gun at Ms. Moore as she continued to advance and told her repeatedly in French to “drop the knife” as he backed up towards the end of the third-floor balcony.

Because the stairs were at the opposite end of the balcony, he said he was cornered. “Scared that she would hurt or kill him, (the officer) said he fired his gun until the threat was no longer present.” The report said four shots were fired, and police called an ambulance and tried to stop the bleeding but were unsuccessful.

Eyewitnesses who had seen Moore earlier in the night said she had been drinking alcohol — a factor confirmed by the autopsy.

“It is this author’s opinion that in the early morning hours of June 4, 2020, (the officer) did believe, on reasonable grounds, that force or a threat of force was being used against him by Ms. Moore and that he shot at Ms. Moore for ‘the purpose of defending or protecting’ himself and that his actions were reasonable under the circumstances,” Wilbur wrote.

“Ms. Chantel Moore’s death, although deeply regrettable, was as a result of her being severely impaired by alcohol and combined with her actions, specifically exiting her residence brandishing a knife,” he continued, adding that she did not respond to clear orders to drop the knife.

A later forensic examination of the kitchen knife was able to find three fingerprints on the handle but they lacked enough detail to connect them to a specific person.

Wilbur said while the officer had other deterrent measures, such as pepper spray and a baton, the events unfolded quickly.

Just over a week after Moore died, RCMP shot and killed Rodney Levi of Metepenagiag First Nation in New Brunswick. In that case, which was also investigated by the Quebec watchdog, the province’s prosecutions service concluded the RCMP officers involved acted lawfully to protect themselves and civilians who were present at the home in Sunny Corner, N.B., where Levi was shot.

New Brunswick’s Department of Public Safety announced last year that a coroner’s inquest would be held into both deaths.

Chief Coroner Jérôme Ouellette announced Monday that an inquest into Moore’s death has been scheduled to begin Dec. 6, 2021 in the Edmundston region. An inquest is a formal court proceeding that allows for public presentation of evidence relating to a death, but doesn’t make findings of legal responsibility or assign blame. The findings are intended to help prevent a similar death from happening.

Messages seeking comment from Moore’s family and their lawyer were not immediately returned Monday.

—Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press.For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

RELATED: Vancouver Island woman’s family awaits answers into her fatal police shooting

RELATED: Mother still seeking answers a year after Chantel Moore killed by N.B. police

Indigenouspolice shooting

Just Posted

A Grade 8 class at L.A. Matheson Secondary. March 2021. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
B.C.’s return-to-school plan good, but Surrey teachers hope there is room for adjustments

Surrey school district to receive $1.76M of the $25.6M provincial pandemic-related funding

Surrey Fire Service battled a dock fire along the Fraser River late Friday night (June 18). It was on Musqueam Drive, near Industrial Road, around 10:45 p.m. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Fire engulfs pier on Surrey side of the Fraser River

Pier has reportedly been unused for a long time

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Kalyn Head, seen here on June 4, 2021, will be running 100 kilometres for her “birthday marathon” fundraiser on July 23. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Woman’s 100-km birthday marathon from Chilliwack to Abbotsford will benefit Special Olympics B.C.

Kalyn Head hopes run raises awareness, advocates for inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities

Most Read