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'This was racially motivated,' says grandmother of Tofino woman shot and killed by N.B. police
VICTORIA -- A young woman who was shot and killed by police in New Brunswick on Thursday has been identified by family members as 26-year-old Chantel Moore of the Tlaoquiaht First Nation near Tofino, B.C.
Police in Edmundston, N.B., say they were asked to perform a wellness check on a woman at an apartment building around 2:30 a.m. Thursday.
The department said in a statement that the responding officer was confronted by a woman, who was allegedly holding a knife and making threats.
The officer shot the woman. Despite resuscitation efforts, she died at the scene, according to police.
Chantel Moore’s grandmother, Nora Martin, said the family is in mourning and disbelief over what happened.
“Chantel was very friendly, she was very outgoing,” said Martin. “She was well-loved by the family and had numerous friends.”
She said as soon as she heard news of Moore’s death, she felt that race was a factor.
“When I first heard about it, that was my first thought: 'This was racially motivated,'” said Martin.
“We’ve been dealing with police brutality for a number of years,” she added. “I know in my own family it’s been going on for a long time.”
Martin said Moore moved to New Brunswick roughly two months ago to be closer to her five-year-old daughter who was living with a relative in Edmundston.
According to family members, Moore’s boyfriend first contacted police in Edmundston to check on Moore because she claimed she was being harassed.
“She just moved into her own place two days ago and I guess somebody in the neighbourhood or in the town had been following her or hanging around her place,” said Martin.
Martin said the police then visited Moore’s mother, who referred police to Moore’s new apartment.
That was the last time that Moore’s mother heard from police before they called to tell her that her daughter had died.
According to Martin, police told family members that Moore had been shot five times after threatening a lone police officer with a knife.
“My granddaughter, Chantel, is small, she’s slim, she’s small in stature and she couldn’t do that,” said Martin. “I don’t think she would do that and we don’t believe that she would attack anybody.”
Martin also questioned why police fired five shots, and why a Taser or other non-lethal method of subduing someone was not used. She said that she hopes police will change how they approach confrontations to focus more on deescalating situations.
“Like I said, she was small in stature, it’s very appalling to us.”
Police say that an autopsy has been scheduled.
Investigators have not released any additional information about the incident, including what sort of threats the woman allegedly made.
“The Edmundston Police Force has requested the services of an independent agency to conduct a review of the incident to ensure police actions were appropriate and conform to policing standards,” said police in a statement.
“As a matter of accountability and transparency for the independent review, the New Brunswick RCMP is providing investigative and forensic support.”
Martin said that a fundraiser has now been launched to help Moore’s family in B.C. travel to New Brunswick for a funeral.
“Normally in our tradition and our culture we would bring her back to our homeland here in Tlaoquiaht, but we won’t be able to do that (due to COVID-19),” she said.
“There are a number of people fundraising to help us get to New Brunswick by tomorrow. We’ll probably be there for a few days,” she said.
With files from CTV Atlantic