Family walks to honour Chantel Moore on harrowing four-year anniversary of her shooting death by N.B. police officer | Ha-Shilth-Sa Newspaper

Family walks to honour Chantel Moore on harrowing four-year anniversary of her shooting death by N.B. police officer

Tofino, BC

Chantel Moore’s mother Martha Martin flew across the country from New Brunswick to be home in Tla-o-qui-aht territory for the harrowing four-year anniversary of her daughter’s death. On June 4, 2020 Moore was shot and killed by Edmundston Police Force officer Jeremy Son during a wellness check.

Moore was 26 when the fatal shooting took place. Her daughter, Gracie, just turned 10.

“We come from Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation and we are strong,” Martin said at the Tofino-Ucluelet Junction before walking 33-kilometres north to Tofino today. “We walk in honour of all of those who have lost their lives at the hands of law enforcement.”

Tla-o-qui-aht Elected Councillor Anna Masso played a chant for strength before setting out along the Pacific Rim Highway alongside Martin. Masso said they are aiming to walk each kilometre in about 11-minutes. The day will end with a ceremony at Tofino’s First Street Dock.

“This has been a whirlwind ever since. One of our very good friends started a GoFundMe and we were able to fly 12 (family members) back home right in the middle of COVID. We were dealing with so many obstacles, even getting there and staying there - and the funeral and getting the body home,” said Masso.

She told the Ha-Shilth-Sa she went to the Yates Funeral Service in Parksville to see Moore’s body before she was cremated.

“When I was leaving, he lifted her leg and her leg just flopped from the knee down. It was broken. There was so much wrong with what happened,” Masso said. “There are so many case scenarios that have played through my head in all these years.”

On June 20, 2020, Moore’s family released her ashes into the Somass River, one of her favourite places to be with Gracie before they moved to New Brunswick. Five months after her daughter’s passing, Martin’s son Mike died in police custody.

“I’ve gone through three coroners and still haven’t heard back from them. Today we walk in honour of (Chantel and Mike) and we let this government know to never forget her name or my son’s name or anybody else’s name. We’ve lost so many… Rodney Levi, Julian Jones, Eishia Hudson, there are numerous names of Indigenous people who have been shot across this country at the hands of law enforcement,” said Martin. “They are supposed to be there to protect our people and they are the ones that are doing it upon arriving (on scene). How is that possible?”

Martin says she’s been told that officer Son still works for the Edmundston Police.

“He goes on living and that’s the toughest part,” said Martin. “You know, we’re here picking up those broken pieces and I’m raising a granddaughter who no longer has a mother. That little girl still asks for her mom. She says, ‘When are the angels going to be done with my mom?’. That’s one of the toughest things I think you will ever hear from a child.”

Officer Son claims Moore caused her own death by advancing towards toward him with a knife in a threatening manner and by not listening to his instructions to drop the knife. 

He claimed he moved to the left of the front door and was backed up against the railings of the balcony, three stories up rather than moving back towards the stairs, where he could have escaped.

“He fired four shots before Ms. Moore fell to the floor of the balcony and she released the knife,” reads the BEI (Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes du Quebec) report on the investigation.

But questions raised about whether or not Moore was brandishing a knife that night were not sufficiently answered in the available reports. There are inconsistencies about partial fingerprints found on the knife, which hand Moore allegedly used to threaten the officer with the knife, as well as when and where the knife was ultimately found.

The report contains testimony from three other police officers that were on scene, at least two EMT’s that responded. While most of them saw the four shell casings, none reported seeing the knife. Witnesses living nearby report seeing several officers appearing to search the ground and staircase with their flashlights immediately after the shooting.

Eventually, a steak knife along with some pieces of Moore’s jewelry were recovered under a flattened cardboard box to the right of Moore’s body.

To this day, Masso says Tla-o-qui-aht has not received Moore’s cellphone.

“Where’s the cellphone? She was messaging many people. She messaged both my boys who she’s very close to. Why are they hiding all the messages?” Masso asked. “I’m no lawyer, but I’m not stupid either.”


- With files from Denise Titian

Share this: