B.C. woman shot and killed by police during wellness check in Edmundston, N.B.
HALIFAX -- A 26-year-old Indigenous woman from British Columbia has died after she was shot by a police officer in Edmundston, N.B.
The Edmundston Police Force received a request to check on the well-being of a woman at an apartment building on Canada Road around 2:30 a.m. Thursday.
Insp. Steve Robinson confirmed to CTV News that the request came from the woman’s friend, who used to live in Edmundston, but now lives outside the province.
Robinson said two officers responded to the scene, but one officer remained in the police vehicle.
Police said the responding officer was confronted by the woman, who was holding a knife.
Robinson said the woman made no verbal threats, but she lunged at the officer with the knife.
Police said the officer fired his weapon, striking the woman. Efforts were made to resuscitate her, but she died at the scene.
An autopsy has been scheduled.
Robinson would not confirm the woman’s identity, but she has been identified by her family as Chantel Moore of the Tlaoquiaht First Nation near Tofino, B.C.
Her grandmother, Nora Martin, told CTV News that Moore had 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, it was Moore's boyfriend who asked police to conduct the wellness check, because she had 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," Martin told CTV News Vancouver Island.
Martin said police then visited Moore's mother, who referred them to her daughter's new apartment. She said that was the last time Moore's mother heard from police before they called her to tell her that her daughter had died.
The police officer involved in the incident is now off-duty, but has not suspended at this time. Robinson said his future with the police force will depend on the outcome of the investigation.
Police would only confirm that the officer is a constable who has been with the Edmundston Police Force for several years.
The investigation is ongoing.
“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.”
A Halifax-based group, Women's Wellness Within, said it is mourning the woman's death.
The organization said police should not be sent to check on people's well-being, noting that studies have shown that the victims of many such police-involved deaths are people in mental distress.
"The provision of health is not something police can do," the group said in a news release. "All dispatchers need to understand this and stop sending police."
The group said money spent on police should be redirected to health-affirming services, community organizations, housing and supports.
With files from The Canadian Press and CTV News Vancouver Island.