Former soldier killed his family, N.S. RCMP confirm: ‘A very disturbing case’

Former soldier killed family, RCMP confirm

HALIFAX — Former soldier Lionel Desmond killed his family and then himself, Nova Scotia RCMP confirmed Friday.

Police said an autopsy found that Desmond and three family members died of gunshot wounds, and that his own wound was self-inflicted.

“It’s a very unique and tragic and very disturbing case,” Cpl. Jennifer Clarke told reporters. 

The Mounties had previously said gunshot wounds were the suspected cause in the deaths of 33-year-old Desmond, his 31-year-old wife Shanna Desmond, their 10-year-old daughter Aaliyah and his mother Brenda Desmond, 52.

The four were found dead Tuesday night in a rural home in Upper Big Tracadie in northeastern Nova Scotia.

Desmond was diagnosed with PTSD after a tour in Afghanistan in 2007, and he apologized for “freaking out” on friends and family in a social media post last month.

Clarke said she could not say when the family died, or anything about the two guns that were found in the house, including what kind they were or who owned them, whether Lionel Desmond was living in the home, or whether police searched any other crime scenes.

She said investigators cleared the scene Thursday, but the probe continues.

“We will continue to work through this investigation until we understand exactly what took place to their best of our ability,” she said, confirming that officers will include Desmond’s PTSD diagnosis in the probe.

“Certainly we would look at everything we could find to determine what happened here. I can say for sure we would be looking at every possible angle we could to determine why this happened.”

Clarke would not comment on whether RCMP had ever gone to the home.

“I can’t give you any history on their involvement with police.”

In their statement Friday, the RCMP thanked the residents of the village for their co-operation and patience in an “extremely difficult time.”

“From the moment I arrived … people were bringing us coffee and food, just incredibly supportive of the RCMP’s work in that area,” Clarke said.


The Canadian Press

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