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 new banner was unveiled Monday, June 21, in Williams Lake that will hang across Oliver Street. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Orange Shirt Banner Project unveiled in Williams Lake

The Every Child Matters - 215 banner will hang across the city’s main street

(File Photo)
Police watchdog clears 100 Mile RCMP of wrongdoing after man dies in Williams Lake shelter

The man had been in custody at 100 Mile RCMP detachment prior to being taken to Williams Lake

The future of the Quesnel Rec Centre pool is unknown after residents shot down potential renovations in a referendum. (Melanie Law photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
Cariboo Regional District, Quesnel residents shoot down pool renovations in referendum

The $20 million project needed approval from people living in the North Cariboo Recreation area

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

Williams Lake Blue Fins swimmer Cale Murdock is competing in Toronto June 17-23 at the Canadian Olympic Trials for a shot at competing as a member of Team Canada at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo submitted)
Blue Fins’ Murdock places eighth overall in 200m freestyle at Canadian Olympic trials

With the uncertainty of training and moving to Williams Lake to train, Webb said they were pleased

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

Most Read