Murder charges filed in Missouri coach's death
JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) — A 39-year-old Joplin man was charged Saturday in the death of a new assistant football coach at Missouri Southern State who was shot outside a Joplin movie theater, authorities said.
Jeffery L. Bruner, of Joplin, was charged with felony murder and armed criminal action in the shooting death of MSSU offensive line coach Derek Moore, Joplin police said in a release. Police said Moore was shot Friday night in the parking lot as he left the Northstar 14 Theatres. He died later at a hospital.
Bruner was arrested shortly after the shooting and is being held without bond at the Joplin jail, where officials said it’s unclear if he has a lawyer. The Jasper County prosecutor’s office did not immediately return calls Saturday seeking additional comment about the charges.
Moore, 37, was in his first year on the Missouri Southern football staff. He previously coached three seasons at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Ill., according to the MSSU website.
“We are stunned and deeply saddened by this tragic incident, and our prayers are with Derek’s family,” MSSU Interim President Alan Marble said in a statement on the university’s website.
The university, which also canceled its Homecoming activities for the weekend, said Moore was the father of a 7-year-old boy. A campus candlelight vigil is planned for Monday.
“Derek was new to Missouri Southern but he was embraced by our campus and community,” head coach Daryl Daye said in the statement. “He was a very likeable person who always had a smile on his face and made friends easily with our staff and players. This is an unspeakable loss for the MSSU athletics family.”
The university said counselors would be on hand to help students and employees deal with Moore’s death.
“In times like this, our priority is to make sure we are there for our student-athletes, coaches and support staff in whatever way necessary,” Athletics Director Jared Bruggeman said in the statement.