New Brunswick

Chantel Moore's mother testifies on Day 1 of inquest into police shooting death

Chantel Moore's mother testified at her inquest Monday, providing a glowing description of her daughter, pleasant memories of their final visit together and a tortured account of two visits by Edmundston police officers in the early morning hours of June 4, 2020.

Ex-boyfriend and friend also testify about happy night before Moore's death

Chantel Moore, 26, was shot and killed by an Edmundston, N.B., police officer in June 2020 during a wellness check at her apartment. (Chantel Moore/Facebook)

Chantel Moore's mother testified at her inquest Monday, providing a glowing description of her daughter, pleasant memories of their final visit together and a tortured account of two visits by Edmundston police officers in the early morning hours of June 4, 2020.

Moore, of Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation in British Columbia, was 26 when she was fatally shot that morning outside her apartment on Canada Road in Edmundston by an officer who'd been dispatched to check on her well-being.

On the first day of the inquest in Fredericton, Moore's mother, Martha Martin, said police first "banged" on her door around 2:30 a.m.

It was Const. Jeremy Son, who informed her that police were concerned about Moore's safety and wanted to know where to find her apartment in the northwestern New Brunswick city.

"They thought somebody was stalking her or something," Martin said.

No response to messages

After the officer left, Martin said, she sent her daughter a couple of messages but didn't get any response. She asked her partner if he could stop by to see if everything was OK. But he was working and wasn't able to.

The second visit by police was announced with a knock at precisely 4:19 a.m., said Martin. Two other officers informed her that Moore had been shot and killed.

Martin's emotional testimony was halted several times so she could catch her breath and regain composure.

Chantel Moore's mother, Martha Martin, centre, is accompanied into the Fredericton conference room where the inquest is being held. (Ed Hunter/CBC)

Martin described her daughter as a very outgoing lover of life and family — including a then six-year-old daughter who was her "pride and joy."

She also loved music, said Martin. She played piano and she was able to "light up" a room.

Before Edmundston, Moore lived in Port Alberni, B.C., she said. She went back there when she was sick, but came back to Edmundston and was starting over.

She wanted to better herself, said Martin, and talked about going to school to become an engineer.

Martin said the evening before her daughter died, Moore had stopped by her place to pick up a 12-pack of Coors Lite and a "mickey" of spiced rum. She was having a friend over to her new apartment as a housewarming celebration.

"She was ecstatic," said Martin, because she finally had the place set up the way she wanted, with furniture, appliances and internet.

"She gave me a hug and kiss and said, 'Thanks Mom,' and skipped off," getting into a car and driving off with her friend.

Texts seemed like they were from another person

Chelsey Ouellet was the friend that she drove off with.

Ouellet testified by video conference that the two were good friends who'd met at work.

She described Moore as caring and a "really good person" with a "big heart."

Like Martin, she also testified that Moore was in a good mood that night. They talked about her ex-boyfriend, whom Moore said she missed, and Moore was also video chatting off and on with friends in B.C.

Ouellet said she had a couple of beers and Moore had some beers and some rum and cokes.

She said she left at about midnight, but had to briefly return because she forgot her wallet.

When she last saw Moore, she said, she was a bit drunk, but not severely intoxicated.

Ouellet said she texted Moore a while after she arrived home, as she was getting ready for bed, to let her know she'd arrived safely. The reply she received seemed to be from a different person.  "She passed out pretty quickly," one of the texts said.

Concerned ex-boyfriend called 911

That echoed something the first witness of the inquest, Moore's ex-boyfriend Jonathan Brunet, had said.

Brunet had dated Moore for several months prior to their being separated by pandemic travel restrictions while he lived in Quebec, but they still kept in touch almost daily.

He described Moore as having positive energy and a "ride or die" attitude.

She drank moderately, he said, mainly on weekends, and did a bit of cocaine from time to time.

Like Ouellet, Brunet said he had received messages from Moore early that morning that also seemed to be coming from a third person. They said things like, "This bitch is going to be gone," and "I'm staring at her as she sleeps."

A few weeks earlier, he said, she thought she'd been followed home from Boston Pizza, where she worked.

Brunet said he was very worried about Moore and tried to reach her mother or their mutual friends, but it was late at night and he didn't hear back from any of them. So, thinking she was in danger, he called 911.

Martin said the officer who went to check on her daughter, Const. Son, had been to her place before.

Moore had been intoxicated, she said, and kicked the door open at her mother's place because she couldn't get in.

Martin called police before she realized who it was.

Ceremony for family attracts participants from B.C.

Some members of Moore's family took part in a ceremony before testimony began with Wolastoqi grandmothers and traditional chief of the Wolastoqey Grand Council Ron Tremblay.

Tremblay said they were inviting the ancestors of their people to bring wellness to Moore's family, some of whom came from B.C. to attend.

"We just want to do this in the right way, in a good way for them," he said.

Tremblay was also invited to give an opening prayer.

Emily Caissy stepped in as presiding coroner because Michael Johnston had a family emergency, said a representative of the coroner's office.

Most of the questions are being asked by prosecutor Johanne Thériault. Sue Ellen Stickles is serving as the foreperson on the jury.

Testimony is set to resume Tuesday at 9 a.m.