Neskantaga man shot himself, OPP officer tells inquest

An Ontario Provincial Police officer testifying at an inquiry into the death of Bruce Moonias said he found Moonias lying among blood-soaked blankets in a home where the windows had been shot out.

Police were told Moonias had not been drinking, but was unpredictable and had spoken of suicide

An Ontario Provincial Police officer testifying at an inquiry into the death of Bruce Moonias said he found Moonias lying among blood-soaked blankets in a home where the windows had been shot out.

Detective-Sergeant Frank Kaiser testified he was part of an Ontario Provincial Police team specializing in crisis response that flew from Kingston to Neskantaga First Nation on Sunday Dec. 10, 2006.

Stanley Moonias holds a photo of his son, Bruce Moonias, who died in 2006. An inquest into his death is ongoing in Thunder Bay. (Nicole Ireland/CBC) (Nicole Ireland/CBC)

The team consisted of more than a dozen people, including a hostage negotiator. 
They arrived just before 3 p.m. and went to a briefing at the Nishnawbe Aski Police office in the community.

Kaiser said they were told that Moonias was believed to be alone in his home with at least one shotgun, and the last shots had been heard before midnight the previous evening.

They also heard that Moonias had not been drinking, but was unpredictable and had spoken of suicide in the past. 
Kaiser said Moonias was "arrestable" for careless use of a firearm and breach of recognizance.

The inquest had heard earlier that Moonias was facing a break and enter charge in Thunder Bay, and that one of his bail conditions was a firearm ban. 

'Groaning' in distress

Kaiser testified that when he approached Moonias' house, he could hear someone moving around inside and "groaning" in distress.

His colleagues tried to call the house to make initial contact by phone but, from his position near a broken front window, Kaiser heard no telephone ringing.

He called through the window and Moonias responded, saying he couldn't move and that he had shot himself. He told the officers to come in through the back door.

When they entered the house, Kaiser said, it was "in pretty rough shape," with blood everywhere and the floor "strewn with numerous [gun] shell cases."

They found Bruce Moonias lying in a bed with blood-soaked blankets.

Kaiser said when he pulled back the blankets, Moonias had a loonie-shaped hole in his belly. Moonias again told Kaiser he had shot himself and that he would have called for help if the phone were working.

Kaiser said Moonias told him he had done it because he had been "stressed."

The detective-sergeant testified the windows in the bungalow were broken and he assumed Moonias had shot through them. The house was extremely cold, so he found Moonias another blanket.

He testified Moonias kept saying he was going to die, so Kaiser tried to reassure him and told him help was coming.

Moonias upset by nickname, officer recalls

In his testimony, Kaiser recalled learning that Moonias' nickname was "Goonie Eyes" or "Crazy Eyes."

He said he asked Moonias if he wanted to be called by his first name or by his nickname. Kaiser said Moonias told him he didn't like that nickname and looked sad.

The detective-sergeant testified that his colleagues soon arrived with a stretcher and they carried Moonias out of the house. He said Moonias was transported to the Neskantaga nursing station in a pick-up truck because there was no ambulance.

Earlier on Tuesday, Moonias' aunt, Delphine Moonias, testified that she saw Bruce and spoke to him at the nursing station. She told him the family was worried about him and he said he was sorry.

Moonias said she thought Bruce was going to be okay after he was flown out by air ambulance to Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. However, Moonias died there the next day.  

The inquest continues on Wednesday, when another OPP officer is expected to testify.