Salmon Arm  

Church shooter found not responsible due to mental disorder

Not responsible for shooting

A Shuswap man who admitted to first-degree murder will be going to a forensic psychiatric hospital, not prison.

In April 2019, Matrix Gathergood walked into a Salmon Arm church and shot and killed Gordon Parmenter.

However, on Wednesday Gathergood was found not criminally responsible due to a mental disorder.

In making her decision, Supreme Court Justice Sheri Ann Donegan cited numerous reports of Gathergood's mental state leading up the homicide.

Donegan said there was “overwhelming evidence” Gathergood was in a schizophrenic state when the murder took place and that she was “satisfied” he suffers from a mental disorder.

Gathergood thought he had to kill Parmenter who he believed was going to kill him.

Gathergood also suffered from delusions and extreme paranoia in the months prior to the shooting.

Along with the murder, Gathergood admitted to the charge of aggravated assault for wounding a man at the church who was administering first aid to Parmenter.

And despite firing a shotgun three times in a crowded church, Donegan noted Gathergood was unaware of how he could have injured someone else in the attack.

Donegan said Gathergood still does not know he has mental illness and she ordered a review board assess Gathergood to determine his next steps for treatment.

Donegan said “his risk of violence needs to be assessed” and that it “remains high.”

Several members of Parmenter's family were in attendance, some wiping away tears during the proceedings.

“I can appreciate it's been difficult,” Donegan said addressing family members. “I hope you know I am very aware of the tragedy of your loss and the grief you are all experiencing. I wish you all the best.”

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