Twelve days after the fatal police shooting of Tla-o-qui-aht’s Chantel Moore the family is making the long, cross-country trip back home to British Columbia from New Brunswick.
Moore, 26, was shot five times, according to family members, by an Edmunston Police Force officer in the early morning hours of June 4 in her apartment during a wellness check.
Moore’s family has said that the young woman had been communicating with her boyfriend, who was away in Montreal. She is reported to have told him that someone was bothering her. Fearing for her safety, the boyfriend called Edmunston police and requested a wellness check on his frightened girlfriend.
The police, according to Moore’s grandmother, Grace Frank, arrived at the home of Martha Martin about 3 a.m. looking for Moore. Martin, who is Chantel’s mother, gave the officer the address of the apartment Moore had recently moved into.
Details of what happened at Moore’s apartment are not available to the public. Immediately following the incident, the Edmunston Police Force chief stated that Moore had threatened the officer with a knife; a claim that family and friends of Moore say they doubt.
Grace Frank said they have been advised by investigators not to divulge any information about the incident.
Moore was born in Edmunston, NB, in 1994. Shortly afterward, she and her mother moved to Vancouver Island, where Moore grew up, living in Tofino, Nanaimo, Port Alberni and Campbell River.
Later on she gave birth to a girl named Gracie. Moore spent some time in Port Alberni working at the Tseshaht Market and making many friends in the Tseshaht community.
Just a few months ago Moore returned to Edmunston to be closer to her mother and daughter.
According to Martin, her daughter had dreams.
“She wanted to be an engineer, was looking into school, she wanted to learn more French; she wanted to move to New York,” Martin told Ha-Shilth-Sa. In fact, just days before her death, Moore began purchasing her college books.
The Quebec Independent Police Investigation Agency were in Edmunston in the days following the shooting. They will investigate the police officer’s actions in relation to the shooting of Moore.
They were called back to New Brunswick to investigate another police shooting that occurred June 12, while Moore’s family members were still in the province.
On Friday, June 12, the Sunny Corner RCMP responded to a call about an unwanted guest at a local pastor’s residence. Rodney Levi, 48, a Metepenagiag First Nation man, was shot and killed by an RCMP officer. The lead pastor of the church has since said that Levi was a welcome guest at the church.
Nuu-chah-nulth members in Edmunston went to visit with grieving relatives of Levi.
Frank says that a third family joined them at the June 15 gathering; relatives of Brady Francis, a 22-year-old member of the Elsipogtog First Nation who died in a 2018 hit-and-run incident. According to Frank, she heard that the driver who hit Francis was a drunk and got away with a crime.
According to news reports, Maurice Johnson, 57, pleaded not guilty of failing to stop at the scene of an accident that caused death. He reportedly said he thought he hit a deer. He was acquitted by a judge in May 2020, leaving Francis’ family feeling they were robbed of justice.
Frank says that her family paid respects to the Levi family.
“I cried with them,” she said, adding that it was nice to have so much support.
She says that the families pledged to stand together to seek justice for their loved ones.
Members of the Wolastoqey First Nation in New Brunswick have been caring for the Nuu-chah-nulth family of Moore during their stay. Frank has expressed her deep gratitude for the care they have received as they grieve their loss.
A private funeral service for Moore was held in New Brunswick on June 11. Both Nuu-chah-nulth and Wolastoqey cultural practices were observed at the service.
Besides the investigation by the Quebec Independent Agency, the New Brunswick Department of Public Safety announced that a coroner's inquest would be held into Moore's death.
Both processes could take months.
In a joint statement, six chiefs of the Wolastoqey Nation demanded an independent review of the justice system following the shooting of Moore.
The family of Chantel Moore are making their way back home on June 16. Since her death, there have been dozens of demonstrations across Canada demanding justice.
Martha Martin and her family planned to land in Nanaimo June 17 and make their way to Victoria, where they will take part in a peaceful demonstration at the B.C. legislature on Thursday, June 18.
The family will then make their way to Port Alberni, where a memorial service for Chantel Moore will be held on the Tseshaht side of Paper Mill Dam park. Social distancing guidelines are in place and people are asked to bring lawn chairs.
Martha Martin says she will be wearing yellow in honour of her Chantel.
“(In messages) my daughter always said, ‘stay golden’ with yellow hearts after it,” Martin shared.
She said that she will fight for justice for her daughter.
“I will never let them forget her name,” she vowed.