Desmond family brings call for inquiry into military murder-suicide to Ottawa

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OTTAWA — Cassandra Desmond is bringing her call for an inquiry into the circumstances around her brother’s death to the steps of Parliament, in hopes of preventing a repeat of the tragedy that ripped her family apart.

Cassandra is the sister of Lionel Desmond, the Afghan war veteran who shot and killed their mother as well as his wife and daughter before turning the gun on himself in Nova Scotia in January.

Lionel Desmond was medically released from the military in 2015, and family members have said he did not receive the treatment and support needed to deal with his mental illness.

Nova Scotia’s medical examiner is weighing a provincial inquiry, but the Department of National Defence and Veterans Affairs Canada have said they will not conduct their own investigations.

Cassandra says her brother fell through the cracks after being released from the military, and that a national inquiry is needed so Canadians know how and why so it doesn’t happen again.

And while National Defence and Veterans Affairs recently released a joint suicide prevention strategy, Cassandra questioned why it wasn’t in place before and worried about whether it was enough.

The Canadian Press