Officer describes gruesome crime scene at Desmond inquiry

Gruesome crime scene

An inquiry into the case of an Afghan war veteran who fatally shot three members of his family before turning the gun on himself has heard from an RCMP officer who found the bodies shortly after the killings in rural Nova Scotia.

Staff Sgt. Addie MacCallum told the inquiry he and another officer were dispatched to Lionel Desmond's home in Upper Big Tracadie, N.S., shortly after 6 p.m. on Jan. 3, 2017 following a 911 call reporting a "suicide in progress."

MacCallum described the gruesome scene inside the home, where he first spotted a pool of blood near one female body that he could not identify — but he confirmed that person was not moving and appeared to be mortally wounded.

As he entered the kitchen area with his gun drawn, MacCallum said he spotted what he believed to be Lionel Desmond's lifeless body on the floor, with a rifle lying across his left arm.

The officer told the inquiry he saw more blood and another body near the front door of the home, but that person's body was slumped against a wall and their face was turned away.

MacCallum then sobbed and took several deep breaths as he described entering the living room, where he saw the unmoving body of a small child.

"I rolled her over," he said, drawing a deep breath just as his voice cracked with emotion. "I knew I couldn't help her."

Desmond's 10-year-old daughter Aaliyah, his wife Shanna, 31, and his 52-year-old mother Brenda were all killed.

Among other things, the inquiry is examining whether Desmond had access to mental health and domestic violence services — and whether he should have been able to buy a rifle earlier that day.

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