Niagara Gazette

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November 4, 2013

Shooter confronted estranged wife, coach outside theater, police say

JOPLIN, Mo. — A man charged with murdering a college football coach confronted his victim with his estranged wife moments before firing the fatal shots outside a movie cineplex last Friday night, police said.

Jeffrey Bruner, 39, approached his estranged wife, Dawn Michelle Bruner, and Derek Moore, an assistant coach at Missouri Southern State University, in the drop-off lanes in front of Northpark 14 Theatres. People were emerging from the theaters after a showing of "Captain Phillips" about 9:50 p.m.

Dawn Bruner, a campus police officer, and Moore had been to the movie together and were headed toward their vehicle when Jeffrey Bruner said something, then shot Moore in the torso at close range, said Joplin police Lt. Matt Stewart.

Moore fell to the ground, and Bruner fired additional shots, Stewart said, citing witness accounts.

Three or four bystanders followed Bruner to his car, where they confronted him. “They told him to get down on the ground, which he did, and they stayed with him then until law enforcement arrived,” Stewart said.

Moore, 37, died at a local hospital. Bruner was charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action, and is being held without bond.

Bruner and his wife shared a home in Joplin and apparently separated recently, Stewart said. There had been no prior domestic disturbances reported to police, he said.

A college coach for 14 years, Moore moved to Missouri Southern this season. He previously coached at Western Illinois University, in Macomb, for three years.

Moore was the offensive line coach for the Division II Missouri Southern Lions, who compete in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association. Missouri Southern cancelled its homecoming game against Lindenwood University, as well as other weekend activities, after Moore's death.

He is survived by a 7-year-old son.

Details for this story were reported by The Joplin, Mo., Globe.

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