RCMP say 'very unique and tragic' case involving veteran who killed family was murder-suicide

Thursday, 05 October 2017, 10:56:23 PM. Afghanistan war veteran Lionel Desmond shot his wife, daughter and mother in their rural home Tuesday night before killing himself, Nova Scotia RCMP confirm.

Afghanistan war veteran Lionel Desmond shot his wife, daughter and mother in their rural home Tuesday night before killing himself, Nova Scotia RCMP have confirmed.

Police were called to the home in Upper Big Tracadie on Tuesday night after two people discovered the bodies of Desmond, his wife, Shanna Desmond, and 10-year-old Aaliyah and her grandmother Brenda Desmond.

Autopsies conducted Thursday by the medical examiner's office for Nova Scotia confirmed all four died from gunshot wounds and all four bodies were found inside the home, police said.

A RCMP spokeswoman would not give specifics about the two guns seized at the home or Lionel Desmond's mental health. Family members and friends have said he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

"Those are details that we're not able to release at this time and, of course, a person's medical condition is protected information," said Cpl. Jennifer Clarke.

Clarke also wouldn't say if police had ever been to the home before or if they had ever had any previous interactions with the members of the family. She also wouldn't say if the case was being considered as domestic violence.

She called the case "very unique and tragic and disturbing," not just for Nova Scotia, but for anywhere.

Lionel Desmond served with the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan and was released from the military in 2015.

The case has led to outcries about the level of service for veterans in need, prompted discussions about domestic violence and led to a provincial government review of what happened at St. Martha's Regional Hospital in Antigonish, N.S., where Desmond is said to have sought treatment a day before the shooting.

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